Harun Farocki – Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges AKA Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1989)


The vanishing point of is the conceptual image of the ‘blind spot’ of the evaluators of aerial footage of the IG Farben industrial plant taken by the Americans in 1944. Commentaries and notes on the photographs show that it was only decades later that the CIA noticed what the Allies hadn’t wanted to see: that the Auschwitz concentration camp is depicted next to the industrial bombing target. (At one point during this later investigation, the image of an experimental wave pool – already visible at the beginning of the film – flashes across the screen, recognizably referring to the biding of the gaze: for one’s gaze and thoughts are not free when machines, in league with science and the military, dictate what is to be investigated. Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Parallel I (2012)

Parallel I opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism.

“For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start, they served not only to inform and entertain, but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity — whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational. Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Parallel 2 – 4 (2014)

The four‐part cycle Parallel deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series focuses on the construction, visual landscape and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds.

Cinema’s onscreen worlds have always borne an indexical bond to the real, thanks to film’s ability to register traces of physical reality and preserve them as enduring images. What happens when computer-generated video game images—images possessing no such indexical bond—usurp film as the predominant medium of visual worldmaking? How does one’s relation to onscreen heroes shift when we no longer identify with real bodies, but with affectless avatars scarcely possessing a face? Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Videogramme einer Revolution AKA Videograms of a Revolution (1992)

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Central Europe Review :
The compilation video Videograms of a Revolution, new on video from Facets multimedia, concerns the Romanian revolution of 1989 – including the fall, attempted flight, and Christmas-day execution of President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena – and was assembled under the direction of Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica from independent and state video and film sources. Videograms forms part of the imagistic “closing bracket” of the twentieth century in Eastern Europe. It employs images and techniques used by the early Soviet montagists, especially Sergei Eisenstein’s Oktyabr’ (October, 1927), a depiction of the opening bracket of the pair – the Russian Revolution. Crowds are seen from above scattering under gunfire; revolutionary leaders seize the platform at popular manifestations, and major moments in the story are presented from multiple perspectives. Continue reading

Harun Farocki – Leben – BRD AKA How to Live in the German Federal Republic (1990)


Sterile practice
7 August 2010 | by oOgiandujaOo (United Kingdom)

My only previous experience of Farocki prior to watching Leben – BRD (How to live in the FRG) was Die Bewerbung (The Interview). The subject of that documentary film was the preparing of people who had difficulty finding work for job interviews. The movie highlighted how unnatural it was to be in a situation where you had to sell yourself (the training provides promotion of an unnatural self-awareness), where you have to project a compliant image for the Procrustean corporate scrutiniser. Leben – BRD expands on this limited scenario to provide a number of training scenarios. This includes training people to kill, provide obstetric care, separate those involved in domestic arguments etc. All this is interspersed with factory images of equipment being tested for longevity (for example a car door being opened and closed a thousand times by machine). It all comes off as quite banal and sterile programming. There is no room for personality, there is no room for personal connection. I’ve heard how feeling is something that has been outsourced to professionals (psychiatrists), here the psychiatrists are just as impersonal, running a child through a quick-march battery of standardised tests, getting a patient to draw a time series graph of the progression of their phobia, incapable of providing what the patient needs, a shoulder to cry on, someone to hug and understand. Continue reading