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9 10 5 4 Hf05_schnittstelle02 Hf11_eye_machine__i_a Prison_images__2000 Videograms_of_a_revolution__1992 Hf07_schnittstelle07
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Harun
Gegen-Musik, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Gegen-Musik,
2004, colour, sound, film still , 23:00 min.
© Galerie Barbara Weiss
Aufstellung, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Aufstellung,
2005, colour, mute, film still , 16:00 min.
© Galerie Barbara Weiss
Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades,
2006 , installation DVD
© Harun Farocki
Auge / Maschine, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Auge / Maschine,
2000, installation vidéo, 23' capture d’écran
© Harun Farocki
Schnittstelle / Section, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Schnittstelle / Section,
1995, video - BetaSp, col., 1:1,37, 23 min.
© Harun Farocki
Auge / Maschine , Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Auge / Maschine ,
2000, video - BetaSp, col., 1:1,3 , 23 min.
© Harun Farocki
Gefängnisbilder / Prison Images, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Gefängnisbilder / Prison Images,
2000, video col., and b/w, 60 min.
© Harun Farocki
Videogramme einer Revolution , Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Videogramme einer Revolution ,
1992, video transferred to 16mm, col., 1:1,37, 106 min.
© Harun Farocki
Schnittstelle / Section, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Schnittstelle / Section,
1995, video - BetaSp, col., 1:1,37, 23 min.
© Harun Farocki
Schnittstelle / Section, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Schnittstelle / Section,
1995, video - BetaSp, col., 1:1,37, 23 min.
© Harun Farocki
, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki
© Harun Farocki
Immersion , Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Immersion ,
2009, color video, 43 minutes
© Courtesy of the artist, Harun Farocki Filmproduktion and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
 In-formation, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, In-formation,
2005, Video, black and white and color, 16 min
© Harun Farocki / Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades,
2006, Video installation ,12 screens, black and white and color, 36 min
© Harun Farocki / Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki
© Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - Salzburg
Still from Serious Games I: Watson is Down, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Still from Serious Games I: Watson is Down,
2010, Two-channel video installation (color, sound), 8 min
© Courtesy of the artist & MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
Ein neues Produkt (A New Product), Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Ein neues Produkt (A New Product),
2012, colour, sound, film still , 37 min
© Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Barbara Weiss
 still from Serious Games I: Watson is Down, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
still from Serious Games I: Watson is Down,
2010
© Courtesy of the artist & Tel-Aviv Museum of Art
, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki
© Courtesy of the Artist and Argos Centre for Art and Media
Bilder der Welt un Inschrift des Krieges, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Bilder der Welt un Inschrift des Krieges,
1988
© Courtesy of the Artist.
, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki
© Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - Paris
Ernste Spiele I: Watson ist hin, Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Ernste Spiele I: Watson ist hin,
2010, Videostill
© Courtesy of the artist & The Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart
 Serious Games II: Three Dead , Harun FarockiHarun Farocki, Serious Games II: Three Dead ,
2010, Video still
© Harun Farocki 2010
Deep Play, (Installation view, Greene Naftali, 2008), Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Deep Play, (Installation view, Greene Naftali, 2008),
2007 , 12-channel video installation, 2 hours 15 minutes
© Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York
Serious Games II, Three Dead (cropped), Harun FarockiHarun Farocki,
Serious Games II, Three Dead (cropped),
2010
© Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
LEFT (Harun Farocki): Open Hangar; Cactus Flats, NV; Distance ~ 18 miles; 10:04 a.m. RIGHT(Trevor Paglen): War At a Distance,
LEFT (Harun Farocki): Open Hangar; Cactus Flats, NV; Distance ~ 18 miles; 10:04 a.m. RIGHT(Trevor Paglen): War At a Distance,
LEFT: 2007 RIGHT:2003, LEFT: C-print RIGHT: video, LEFT: 30 X 36 in. RIGHT: 54 min.
© LEFT: Courtesy of Metro Pictures, Altman Siegel Gallery, and Galerie Thomas Zander RIGHT: Copyright Harun Farocki
Harun Farocki began his career as a film director and was author and editor of Filmkritik in Munich from 1974 to 1984, in which he focused on theoretical ideas about the image. He has produced an immense body of films, videos and writings that discourse on the role of images in the wielding of cultural and political power. In particular, his work focuses on the convergences of war, sport, politics...[more]


RackRoom
Interview with Harun Farocki

Paris, Apr. 2009 - At the opening of HF/RG at the Jeu de Paume (on view April 7 - June 7, 2009), Harun Farocki led me, away from the crowd milling around the fusion hors d'oeuvres and wine, down into the cinema space in the bowels of the Jeu de Paume, for a more serious discussion about his work and the exhibition. Dressed in all black with a t-shirt proclaiming Mies van der Rohe's “Less is More”, Farocki was unassuming, generous and ever the intellectual ready to engage in discussion. The following excerpts and ideas are a result of our conversation.

Courtesy of the artist

Harun Farocki began his career as a film director and was author and editor of Filmkritik in Munich from 1974 to 1984, in which he focused on theoretical ideas about the image. He has produced an immense body of films, videos and writings that discourse on the role of images in the wielding of cultural and political power. In particular, his work focuses on the convergences of war, sport, politics, and institutions as diverse as prisons, the cinema and other media.


Frances Guerin: How does the transposition of your films into the gallery installation form affect the work?

Harun Farocki: “As a filmmaker you always see the work from different perspectives -- through the viewfinder, on the editing table, in fragments -- and this is how it is seen in the gallery. I always use more than one image, I compare the images, to see what they have in common, it is not a linear image. It's a form of 'soft montage,' taking one image 'a,' finding it's not quite right, and replacing it with 'b'”. Farocki believes that this element of his films make them particularly suitable to the art gallery, more suitable perhaps than they might be to projection in a cinema space. He goes on to explain that the art gallery or museum enables the further fragmentation and re-juxtaposition of images in a way that is not always possible in the cinema. As he reminds me, even in the cinema-projected films “I always use two or three screens simultaneously, to give these different perspectives.”

FG: I have always thought of the place of exhibition -- alternative, experimental or film club spaces -- as necessary to the politics of your work. What happens to the politics of the work when it is shown at the Jeu de Paume on the Place de la Concorde?

HF: “Yes,” he agrees, “I think of the “Beaubourg Effet”. In a typical Farocki style of thinking, he also points out that this adds a productive dimension. “When a film is shown at the Centre Pompidou, 20,000 people a day visit the museum --for entertainment, research, film clubs, to look at art. I wonder if the people enjoy my work more than they do in the film club.”

I was thinking particularly of a film such as Videograms of a Revolution (1992) when I asked him this question. The film is a re-presentation, analysis and ultimate critique of the deception of images propagated in the name of political progress. Most importantly, Farocki's film evades the accusation of its own complicity in the imagemaking machinery by staying on the non-commercial margins: it was and continues to be shown in film festivals, film exhibitions at cultural institutions, and other marginal exhibition spaces. Also, Farocki is usually present in his films -- at times through narrational interruptions, at others such as Inextinguishable Fire (1969), he makes an appearance that works to articulate his role in the manufacture of the images of, in this case, napalm victims. His directorial presence is his way of signaling an awareness of his own political stake in a film.

When I clarify what is behind my question, he points out that things have changed a lot since these films were made. He goes on: “Because the means have changed, and other things are possible, television and cinema have mobilized images, so that the audience in the museum is open to what they will find there and don't have expectations.” And it's the current circulation of images, their presence in people's day to day lives that today makes an audience more open to the many possible perspectives and approaches to the images at these major French institutions.

FG: So the museum is a place of play?

HF: “ Yes, and there is a lot of repetition in the art space. Young artists repeat images that have already been done and they don't ever know it, they don't know it's been done before. And people still go to see it.” Because audiences are obviously so used to seeing, and want to see the never-ending repetition of the same images, He insists that they “are more open than they are in the film club.” People who frequent film clubs have high expectations and high standards of what they will be seeing. There are not the same possibilities in the alternative film space that are opened up by a museum such as the Jeu de Paume.

FG: (In one of the most striking pieces in the current exhibition, Immersion(2009)] Farocki films war veterans undergoing therapy for their Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the Institute for Creative Technologies, a research centre for virtual reality and computer-simulations. The same institution uses virtual reality and games to recruit and train the soldiers, and now, at home, to treat them.) What about the Iraq War piece? How did you get to film this?

HF: "It took six months to get permission, we talked to therapists, doctors and the army. And they let us in once, and then they saw it on the internet, and they wouldn't let us back in. It was too widely distributed."

FG: Do you feel that this piece adds another layer to your work, where the image becomes involved in the therapeutic practice, the witness to the trauma, where images have not previously been allowed to go?

HF: “Yes.” He agrees, and elaborates that “In this piece we see that war becomes real in the collective imaginary --because video games exist, they become a common feature of war, they just exist and are beyond criticism. And, it has a level of 'the image exists, therefore we were there'” He goes on by explaining that this is a problem of resistance to analyze images, and it shows the lack of responsibility to the way images are used, what they claim to be showing, to be about, to have seen. “There's no need anymore for the real thing, we have the images,” he says, and therefore, we can believe that it happened.

Farocki's films are very clear to differentiate themselves from the reductive and problematic equation of the camera=a gun, or another that would claim there is no real event, the only reality we have is in the existence of the image. His films in which real people shed real blood and suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically (I am thinking of films as diverse as Inextinguishable Fire and Prison Images, 2000) are in many ways, a searing indictment on those discourses that consciously seek to obscure all complexity, all ambiguity and all possible avenues of critical analysis. In conversation, as in his images, Farocki is full of questions and reflections, always looking for another hidden layer. For example, he asks us “Why does the army have to build strategies and structures and then give them to the toy industry?”

FG: Is there a discourse on war as labor here in Immersion?

HF: “No, not in this piece” states Farocki “but in the film Deep Play (2007), the tracking recognition is the same as it is in sports and in shopping malls, they use the same technology. It used to be that the huge technological projects of war took twenty or thirty years for the technology to be taken up” in the public social sphere. And he is fascinated by how it also took twenty years to be able to see the Vietnam War, for it to be “imagined” in images. By comparison, he says, “today, the technology of war and the sports field are totally in sync” because the one uses exactly the same technology, processes of production and distribution as the other.

FG: What do you think of the juxtaposition with Rodney Graham's work here at the Jeu de Paume? Could we say that it is a kind of montage that echoes the montage of your own work?

HF: Farocki was very clear on how the exhibition worked: “You can't really say it's juxtaposition. The work is set up throughout, and when we follow the architecture, there is a flow through the spaces. This works well. But it's not montage.”


Artslant would like to thank Harun Farocki and the Jeu de Paume, Paris for their assistance in making this interview possible.

--Frances Guerin

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