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14:14, 13 October 2012 - Monoskop

14:14, 13 October 2012 - Monoskop

Harun Farocki:

Harun Farocki: Filmmaker, Artist, Media Theorist 31 Meydenbauer’s experience the conclusion that in this world, ‘it is dangerous to be present, much more secure to take a picture’, Farocki views the shock of mortal danger as the mother of invention, which undercuts the usual story of greed and cupidity as the driving force of cinematic progress and innovation. In addition, with Meydenbauer, the visible becomes the measurable, which is the beginning of what we now call the ‘digital’. But as the measurable replaces the visible, a new kind of metaphor signifies the gap. Substituting for the visuality no longer emerging from similarity and difference the measurable is symbolized by juxtaposition and the interval. At the same time, Farocki ties the photographic – and by extension – the cinematic image to a proximity with death that all great theorists of film and photography (such as André Bazin or Roland Barthes) have recognised and reflected upon. But unlike them, and in line with a historical experience we no longer can escape, Farocki thinks of death in terms of violent death, of man-made death and sex-and-death, or by contrasting the tactical, one-off warfare of the guerrilla with the strategic, systematic warfare of capitalism, of empires and world powers. Thus, one of his great themes is indeed ‘war and cinema’. Yet what is so striking about his reflections on this topic, no doubt because he himself feels so deeply implicated, is that embedded in his metaphorical thinking is the related rhetorical figure of metonymy. Contiguity-thinking is a mental habit that cannot look at an object without observing what lies next to it, what nestles inside it. To look also means to look past an object, to turn it over, to discover the obverse and reverse side. Farocki apprehends the world as natural picture puzzles. To put it in the more philosophical idiom: he alerts us to the discrepancy between perception and cognition. Almost all the images he studies closely resemble Ludwig Wittgenstein’s duck-rabbit representation, where an image, depending on one’s cognitive frame, visually resembles one or the other, but never both at once. Except that for Farocki, there can be contamination between the two alternative readings, they are communicating vessels rather than conceptual deadlocks, notably the communicating vessels that link warfare and military production to civilian usage and image production. We can look at the image of one of the first tanks, for instance, in which we recognise the agricultural vehicle that either served as the tank’s model or that looks like a practical joker has mischievously misappropriated and ‘re-tooled’ it. Similar things can be said of a picture of a dead horse, a bomb-shattered house, and soldiers in front of a tank grinding up the road: they signify by their juxtaposition, but they become uncanny by sharing the same pictorial space and frame. Or the equally surreal image that opens Wie Man Sieht of the plough that turns into a cannon (see ill. 40). Surreal, that is, until we see a soldier who looks like a farmer (who probably was a farmer) gripping just such a gunplough, with a horse dragging it across rough terrain. These rebus-pictures are

32 Harun Farocki reminiscent of Une Semaine de bonté, Max Ernst’s collages of pictures, cut out of the science journal La Nature, but they also confirm what Klaus Kreimeier meant when he called Farocki, referring to his early student films, Germany’s only ‘Maoist-Dadaist’ 25 (see ill. 18-21). Archimedean Points or Vanishing Points: Between Abstract Work and Abstract Existence Farocki’s cinema as well as his video work, then, is a meta-cinema without a meta-language. It discusses cinema’s origins, its life, death and afterlife, but in cinema’s own terms. What becomes visible, even in the short half-century since Farocki began making films, are the many alternative lives of the cinema, reaching from the early agit-prop films, made in the streets as much as for the streets, via his instructional films, his film essays and author films (all of them, in his words, ‘made against the cinema and against television’) to his installations. It seems as if Farocki has never been comfortable with the black box that is traditional cinema. Yet from what has been said thus far, it is unlikely that he would be any more comfortable with the white cubes of the museum or art gallery, the exhibition spaces where his more recent work has been presented. One indication of this philosophical, but also strategic hesitation between the black box and white cube is that each of Farocki’s films mimics a certain ensemble, a certain dispositif. In this sense, too, his films are allegories of cinema, even when the apparatus they mimic is not necessarily identical with that of cinema. Zwischen zwei Kriegen, as we have already noted, is built around the model of the Verbund, and it becomes an allegory of cinema primarily because it shows, as its photo negative, the portrait of the director as freelance author, television sub-contractor and ‘independent’ filmmaker working under the conditions of the German subsidy system of the 1970s. Leben – BRD and Was ist los? mimic the instructional training films that also constitute their subject matter, giving a hint that these generally despised or often ignored genres of film history have something to offer even the most serious cineaste 26 (see ill. 41). Wie man sieht, on the other hand, takes the logic of the computer (with its yes/no, fork-in-the-road switching and branching structure) as its mental model, and expands it in several different directions, which reminds us that Farocki was already then of the opinion that the binary yes/no of modern technology and digitisation needed to be complemented by a more ‘organic’ model, which follows the natural contours of a given terrain, rather than the straight line of the ruler. And his own work pleads for a both/and model: his

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    82 Harun Farocki cannot know how th

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    84 Harun Farocki if today televisio

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    86 Harun Farocki managed to maintai

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    88 Harun Farocki there in a pinstri

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    90 Harun Farocki off his cap, pulls

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    Between Wars, Between Images

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    96 Harun Farocki by Alfred Sohn-Ret

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    98 Harun Farocki ‘disappears from

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    100 Harun Farocki cal perspective).

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    102 Harun Farocki Farocki’s film

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    104 Harun Farocki Voice of Robert:

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    106 Harun Farocki rents out a cinem

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    Dog from the Freeway Harun Farocki

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    Dog from the Freeway 111 In the win

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    Dog from the Freeway 113 however, d

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    Dog from the Freeway 115 The spark

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    Dog from the Freeway 117 This wisdo

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    Dog from the Freeway 119 The villag

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    Dog from the Freeway 121 peace, the

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    Dog from the Freeway 123 MACV NLF P

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    Dog from the Freeway 125 there is b

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    Dog from the Freeway 127 published

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    Dog from the Freeway 129 thought of

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    Dog from the Freeway 131 ‘For rea

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    ack to the 1960s is necessary, when

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    Political Filmmaking after Brecht:

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    The Road Not Taken: Films by Harun

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    The Road Not Taken: Films by Harun

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    The Road Not Taken: Films by Harun

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    164 Harun Farocki with Peter Nestle

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    166 Harun Farocki why were there so

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    168 Harun Farocki thus strikes at t

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    170 Harun Farocki shard that finall

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    172 Harun Farocki In the laboratory

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    174 Harun Farocki This is, of cours

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Making the World Superfluous: An In

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    Reality Would Have to Begin Harun F

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    Reality Would Have to Begin 195 The

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    Reality Would Have to Begin 197 the

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    Reality Would Have to Begin 199 in

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    Reality Would Have to Begin 201 roo

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    Light Weapons Tom Keenan ... Scan F

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    Light Weapons 205 pressed together.

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    Light Weapons 207 ment’s opening

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    Light Weapons 209 3. The image is a

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    The Political Im/perceptible: Faroc

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    The Political Im/perceptible: Faroc

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    The Political Im/perceptible: Faroc

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    The Political Im/perceptible: Faroc

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    The Political Im/perceptible: Faroc

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    Film: Media: Work: Archive

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    238 Harun Farocki 1895, the Lumièr

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    240 Harun Farocki Metropolis (1927)

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    242 Harun Farocki worst acts of vio

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    On Media and Democratic Politics: V

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    Towards an Archive for Visual Conce

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    From the Surveillance Society to th

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    290 Harun Farocki more important to

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    292 Harun Farocki breastplates, and

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    294 Harun Farocki tive’ nuclear o

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Nine Minutes in the Yard: A Convers

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    Harun Farocki: Critical Strategies

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    Harun Farocki: Critical Strategies

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    Harun Farocki: Critical Strategies

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    Harun Farocki: Critical Strategies

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    Acknowledgements The editor wishes

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    Farocki: A Filmography 1966 Zwei We

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    Farocki: A Filmography 327 scriptwr

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    Farocki: A Filmography 329 1972 Rem

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    Farocki: A Filmography 331 editor p

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    Farocki: A Filmography 333 Die Arbe

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    Farocki: A Filmography 335 1977 Ein

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    Farocki: A Filmography 337 first re

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    Farocki: A Filmography 339 first br

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    Farocki: A Filmography 341 first re

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    Farocki: A Filmography 343 producti

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    Farocki: A Filmography 345 first br

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    Farocki: A Filmography 347 quotatio

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    Farocki: A Filmography 349 Kinostad

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    Farocki: A Filmography 351 1992 Vid

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    Farocki: A Filmography 353 awards n

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    Farocki: A Filmography 355 Das Thea

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    Farocki: A Filmography 357 Stillebe

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    Farocki: A Filmography 359 length 6

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    Farocki: A Filmography 361 2002 Eye

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    364 Harun Farocki search fellowship

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    Index of Names Achternbusch, Herber

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    Index 369 Ernst, Wolfgang 37-38, 26

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    Index 371 Lumières, Auguste and Lo

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    Index 373 Truffaut, François 82, 3

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    376 Harun Farocki Das Prinzip Hoffn

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    378 Harun Farocki Nick’s Film - L

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