A film paved with good intentions
By Johannes Grenzfurthner

Runtime: 120 minutes.

Online release/sales start May 20, 2016

Theatrical release: September 16-29, 2016 at Top Kino in Vienna.

Traceroute is available on Vimeo On Demand.

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Artist and life-long nerd Johannes Grenzfurthner is taking us on a personal road trip from the West Coast to the East Coast of the USA, to introduce us to places and people that shaped and inspired his art and politics. Traceroute wants to chase and question the ghosts of nerddom’s past, present and future. An exhilarating tour de farce into the guts of trauma, obsession and cognitive capitalism.

Traceroute features interviews with Matt Winston, Sandy Stone, Bruce Sterling, Jason Scott, Christina Agapakis, Trevor Paglen, Ryan Finnigan, Kit Stubbs, V. Vale, Sean Bonner, Allison Cameron, Josh Ellingson, Maggie Mayhem, Paolo Pedercini, Steve Tolin, Dan Wilcox, Jon Lebkowsky, Jan „Varka“ Mulders, Adam Flynn, Abie Hadjitarkhani, Kelly Poots…

Art by James Brothwell, Bonni Rambatan, Michael Marrak, Karin Frank, Ben Lawson, Michael Zeltner, Josh Ellingson, eSeL…

Music by Peter Barnett, Kasson Crooker, Damien Di Fede, Matthew Huffaker, Brady Leo, Vera Lynn, Kevin MacLeod, Hans Nieswandt, Roger Sandega, Eric Skiff…

Subtitles/CC provided by VICAPS.




„Traceroute is the most fun I’ve ever had watching a documentary. If you’re a nerd (and you are) this is the road trip you’ve always wanted to take with your smartest, geekiest friend. You’re not going to want to come home. It’s Cosmos. It’s DragonCon on wheels. It’s your favorite sex fantasy. It’s alcohol soaked nonviolent subversive protest mobile and WiFi linked. It’s On The Road updated with tech, science, pseudoscience, sex, and fandom. This is Sheldon Cooper, Stan Lee, and your favorite Suicide Girls showing up at your door with an electric supercar, a bag of legal weed, and a cooler full of jello shots. No, this is Doc Brown showing up in the DeLorean saying „Where we’re going we don’t need roads.“ This is Buckaroo Banzai texting to ask you if everything is ok with the alien spacecraft from Planet 10 or should we just go ahead and destroy Russia?“
(Bradley Gibson, Film Threat, 10/10)

„Traceroute is radical individual empiricism, a narrative biographical puzzle and an experimental projection matrix. Despite continual stimulus satiation, it is wonderful fun: the film tickles the synapses with a perfectly mixed cocktail of collectively shared context and quirkiness.“
(Boing Boing)

„Traceroute is radical individual empiricism, a narrative biographical puzzle and an experimental projection matrix. Despite continual stimulus satiation, it is wonderful fun: the film tickles the synapses with a perfectly mixed cocktail of collectively shared context and quirkiness.“
(Boing Boing)

„As many nerds have noticed, there’s a glut of nerd-positive documentaries out there, but they tend to be either too self-serious, or too focused on the trappings of fandom to actually say much. Traceroute manages to be a real film, with humor and true insight (sometimes called out for us-and delightfully nullified-with a blinking „INSIGHT“ faux-HTML tag onscreen), primarily because it focuses on Grenzfurthner’s personal journey, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Let’s put that another way: The director uses himself and a handful of subjects to create his story, and that specificity-coupled with his playfulness-makes it work. At one point he licks the chrome head of a Terminator prop. Then he licks a zombie head prop. Then he licks the propmaster himself. It’s delightful.“
(Mental Floss)

„Magical. (…) After watching Traceroute, I was left with a real exhilaration and a deeply reflective feeling at once. (…) What Traceroute reveals is the tradition of alterity just beneath the surface of Western culture, and that it has a powerful effect on our mass consciousness, whether it is in plain sight or not.“
(Patrick Lichty, Furtherfield)

„Traceroute is game, challenge, encyclopedia, and sentimental journey all in one. As a documentary it is most skillfully composed. And as a narration it is highly compatible. This film will, in passing, sweep proclaimed nerds off their feet. And it will touch the hearts of those who still need some explanation.“
(Thomas Kaestle, Zebrabutter)

„Johannes is a brilliant lunatic of surpassing and delightful weirdness.“
(Cory Doctorow)

„Traceroute offers deep insights into the world of nerddom. A woman who creates cheese from bacteria on sweaty feet. A man who wants to construct a giant network of independent Geiger counters. Or a sex worker who identifies as a nerd. The multitude of topics and people shows how being a nerd is not restricted to programming and computers.“
(John F. Nebel, Metronaut)

„If you do so happen to be lucky enough to be given the chance to watch this documentary, embrace the geek in yourself and make sure you do. I did and I fu$*ing loved it.“
(Carl Burgess, Screen Critix – 5/5 stars)

„Traceroute is a surprisingly honest and visually stunning self portrait and culture portrait.“
(Marco Rauch, Press Play – 8/10 points)

„Reality based entertainment.. but at its finest. (…) I can almost guarantee that if you’re 30 or older, no matter how hard you try not to, you’ll find something to like here.“
(IndyRed – 4.5/5 stars)

„This doc works in some very unconventional ways, not the least of which is our plucky protagonist. Grenzfurthner is an absolute charmer as our host and his narration is note-perfect (the accent is so cool in that Werner Herzog kind of way). It’s really rare in a documentary about a not-that-famous person where you become almost instantly won-over and invested in their personal journey.“
(Mark Schwab, Diamond In The Rough Films – 3.5/4 stars)

„For me it is the best nerd documentary I’ve seen so far. Simply for the fact that it doesn’t take itself as deadly serious as the other ones. (…) Traceroute deserves high praise because it represents an old-school definition of nerd culture, one that is never compatible with fintech, unicorn and iGod.“
(Felix Knoke, Engadget Germany)

„The film is much more than a glimpse into the world of freaks, who can’t keep their fingers off computers. Being a nerd is not about worship, it is about how you worship.“
(Georg Fuchs, Lotek64)

„The different people Grenzfurthner chatted with were genuinely interesting and the organic way he moved from place to place was intriguing. […] You’ll find that you’ve learned an awful lot about technology, nerdiness, and America.“
(Microfilmmaker Magazine)

„If you’re expecting nothing more than your usual nerd doc with its cosplay cuteness and asocial gamers, you’re going to be not just disappointed but probably traumatized. Grenzfurthner is clearly full-on willing to challenge culture, stereotypes, accepted thoughts and just about everything else. There’s a healthy dose of sexuality in Traceroute, which one might expect, yet Grenzfurthner also immerses the film in politics, activism and social shifts. […] Refreshingly devoid of the pretentiousness so often found amongst truly intellectual films, Traceroute is simultaneously a pretty wonderful personal journey and an immensely satisfying cinematic experience.“
(Richard Propes, The Independent Critic)

„Some of the places, subjects and people are bizarre, some insightful and some politically and socially challenging, but always fun. That is the brilliance of Traceroute. It’s a social commentary delivered from a totally new angle and with real flair. Johannes is always opinionated, but always open with a real sense of self-discovery. I loved every minute of this quirky film. There is such a wide veriety of subjects, tied together by the geek theme, that it feels fluid and expansive, much like the subject matter itself.“
(UK Films)

„To think like a nerd doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a consumer; it means creativity, visions, openness to experimentation, subversion — and not only regarding program code and video games, but regarding society, values and ideologies. And cheese.“
(VICE Alps)

„Johannes Grenzfurthner’s unashamedly nerdy documentary shows us the wonders and horrors encountered >>through hardship to the stars.<< What begins seeming like a nostalgia trip, soon becomes a maverick essay on the absurd fallacy of capitalist >>progress<<, as we journey through America, from the Navajo Nation to the moon, care of Fed Ex. In a world where space exploration is enabled by Nazi science, landfills bulge with discarded video-game cartridges, and teens fight tooth and claw over consumer goods in the same mall where Dawn of the Dead was filmed, a film like this is the only way to make sense of it all.“
(Jack Brindelli, Norwich Radical Film Festival)

„this film takes all things I hold dear and violates them! after watching it, I was so angry and dizzy I thought I have a STROKE!“
(Pepe F’s user review on Rotten Tomatoes)

First public announcement and trailer presentation: December 2, 2015
„World Congress of Science and Factual Producers“ in Vienna, Austria
World Premiere: April 28, 2016; 7pm
NYC Independent Film Festival, New York City, USA [Tickets]
World Premiere party:
April 28, 2016 at 9:30pm at the Playwright (202 West 49th Street, NYC)
Festival season 2016/2017 (frequent updates):
May 2016
DOK.fest Munich (International Documentary Film Festival Munich), Munich, Germany (May 13, 8pm + May 15, 3:30pm) [Tickets]
European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany [Tickets]
Ethnocineca (International Documentary Film Festival Vienna), Vienna, Austria (May 19, 9pm) [Tickets]
June 2016
Ferrara Film Festival, Ferrara, Italy (June 1-5) [Tickets]
Austrian Filmfestival, Vienna, Austria (June 3, 8pm) [Tickets]
Print Screen Festival, Holon, Israel (June 24, 1am) [Tickets]
July 2016
Gallery at Avalon Island, Orlando FL, USA (July 6, door opens 7 PM, movie starts at 8 PM) [Tickets]
Ceau, Cinema! 2016, Timisoara, Romania (July 14-17) [Tickets]
HOPE 11, New York City, USA (July 22) [Tickets]
August 2016
Gen Con, Indianapolis, USA (August 4) [Tickets]
NRW-Forum @ Metropol Kino, Düsseldorf, Germany (August 18, 7 PM) [Tickets]
September 2016
CCC Hamburg (Cafe Chaos) (September 9)
Paraflows, Vienna, Austria (September 16) [Tickets]
International Film Awards Berlin, Berlin, Germany (September 20-22) [Tickets]
Johnson State College Media Arts Programme, Johnson VT (September 22)
Generator, Burlington VT, USA (September 24) [Tickets]
Diamond In The Rough Film Festival, Cupertino CA, USA (September 24) [Tickets]
Subversive Cinema Society @ Betalevel, Los Angeles CA, USA (September 25, 6:30pm) – plus post-screening nerd panel with Chris Gore and Johannes Grenzfurthner
Studio for Creative Inquiry @ Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA, USA (September 27, 5 pm) [Free Entry]
Shrimps Gala, Geneva NY, USA (September 30, 6:30 pm) [Tickets]
October 2016
Celludroid, Cape Town, South Africa (October 1) [Tickets]
c3RE, Recklinghausen, Germany (October 1) [Free Entry]
Buffalo International Film Festival, Buffalo, USA (October 8) [Tickets]
Frack Fest OKC’s Underground Multimedia Fest, Oklahoma City OK, USA (October 20-23) [Tickets]
Dutch Design Week (MADlab), Eindhoven, Netherlands (October 22-30)
Norwich Radical Film Festival, Norwich, UK (October 29)
November 2016
HeK – Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel, Basel, Switzerland (November 29) [Free Entry]
December 2016
CCCS, Stuttgart, Germany (December 8)
Flapedrop Film Festival, Johannesburg, South Africa (December 12) [Tickets]
GZDOC, Guangdong Province, China (December 12-15)
Voidwarranties (@ Filmhuis Klappei), Antwerp, Belgium (December 15)
33C3 (@ Room F), Hamburg, Germany (December 29)
January 2017
Leuphana University (screening at Scala Programmkino), Lüneburg, Germany (January 11)
Phuture Con, Denver, USA + Sapporo, Japan (January 25 and 26)
February 2017
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (presented at C-Base), Berlin, Germany (February 10)
International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema London, London, UK (February 11-17)
March 2017
UK Screen One, Leicester and Nottingham, UK (March 3-8)
LAG, Amsterdam (March 17, 10 pm) [Tickets]
April 2017
Mo:e, Thelemangasse 4, Vienna (April 6, 8 pm)
June 2017
Bended Realities Festival, Isenburger Schloss, Offenbach, Germany (June 10, 6 pm)
September 2017
ChipHits, Künstlerhaus im KunstKulturQuartier, Nuremberg, Germany (September 7)
January 2019
Mozart-Kino, Salzburg, Austria (January 19)

And, as we have heard, our film has already been dumped into the wonderous cesspool of the torrent world. Gulp. What a frickin‘ force of nature! Please consider donating some buckazoids. Thanks.

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