Heavy Metal Detox (Filmstill)
Heavy Metal Detox (Filmstill)
Heavy Metal Detox (Filmstill)
Heavy Metal Detox (Filmstill)

Heavy Metal Detox

A 2019, DCP / HD Video, b/w, sound, 12 min
Director, Script, Editing and Production: Josef Dabernig
Camera: Christian Giesser
Music: Christoph Herndler
Sound design: Michael Palm
Cast: Kristina Balcanovic, Josef Dabernig, Cornelia Schintlmeister, Josef Schintlmeister
Funding: if innovative film Austria at the Federal Chancellery of Austria, Arts and Culture Division, Film Department and Cultural Department of the City of Vienna (MA7)


Heavy Metal Detox as an aesthetic paraphrase on the removal of amalgam dental fillings. The procedure - mirrored from spiritual, sarcastic, existential and nihilistic perspectives - condenses into a cantata in film format.

Josef Dabernig

Heavy Metal Detox versteht sich als ästhetische Paraphrase auf die Entfernung von Amalgamplomben. Die zahntechnische Maßnahme verdichtet sich im spirituell-, sarkastisch-, existenziell- und nihilistisch gefärbtem Licht zu einer Kantate im Filmformat.

Josef Dabernig

Josef Dabernig's films are always highly calculated, based on a meticulously detailed script. In a self-reflexive move, he is also turning his attention to the mechanical side of life and its absurdly scripted elements. Traffic regulations and slot machines, routine cleaning and fitness monotony in his films reveal the deeply comical character of our existence, in ironical accordance with the famous Henri Bergson's theory of mechanical as the source of the comical. In "Heavy Metal Detox", the dental drilling machine and a highly precise order of medical procedures, are one of these comical devices, with an important twist: here, the artist himself is undergoing the treatment, which means that he has to surrender control. Not completely (the film is still carefully edited), but enough to evoke the humility of humans confronted to the powerful higher force, here of a mighty dental surgeon. It is from his perspective (unknown to most of mere mortals unless they are dentists themselves) that we are watching the film.
The procedure was linked to Dabernig's medical condition of that year that required, among other things, the replacement of all of his amalgam filling. Here, the human body is added new spare parts, repaired like a mechanism or even updated like software. With this, the body is also cleaned from disease remnants. The very modernist dialectics of the "purified" and the "non-purified" (that we could also call "real") is at the core of many Dabernig's films. He is never deserting the awkwardness of the Real in favor of the artistic perfection of the Pure; in his films, they often quarry and struggle in a hilarious way. Here, for instance, Christoph Herndler’s organ music that "elevates" the scene is subtly mixed with real construction site noises, compressors and drills.

Ekaterina Degot, sixpackfilm catalogue