Media Arts Program

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

$8 general, $6 students/seniors, FREE for members of Hallwalls and Squeaky Wheel

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Images of the World and the Inscription of War

A film by Harun Farocki (16mm, 75 min.)

Once described as Germany's "best-known unknown filmmaker," Harun Farocki's films, installations, and work as a theoretician established him as one of the most commanding observers of modern life. Inspecting the tools and politics of image-making as they marked the 20th and ongoing 21st century, the intellectual framework with which Farocki approached his subjects—surveillance, labor, war, among others—was astonishing for its breadth, acuity, and prescience.

His passing in the summer of 2014 meant the loss of a vital figure in contemporary art and cinema. Squeaky Wheel and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center pay tribute by screening one of his most central works on a wonderful film print provided to us by the Goethe Institut Boston. Special thanks to Brian L. Frye and Karin Oehlenschläger.

"Over more than four decades, Farocki produced an extraordinary body of work that, for someone who continuously compared things, situations, and images to one another, is paradoxically incomparable. In all he did, he kept it simple, clear, and grounded. In cinematic terms: at eye level. His legacy spans generations, genres, and geographies. And the abundance of ideas and perspectives in his work does not cease to inspire. It trickles, disseminates, perseveres." — Hito Steyerl, e-flux

"After becoming every student film-club's favorite meditation on the media and modern warfare in the age of smart bombs and Operation Desert Storm, Images of the World quickly advanced to something of a classic: the reference film, the anchoring point for seminars on Paul Virilio, on the essay-film as a hybrid documentary but politically subversive film genre, on the 'limits of representation' after Auschwitz and Schindler's List, as well as — this needs to be rediscovered after September 11th — the definitive film about terrorism." — Thomas Elsaesser, Senses of Cinema

"The vanishing point of Images of The World 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. Farocki thereby puts his finger on the essence of media violence, a 'terrorist aesthetic' (Paul Virilio) of optic stimulation, which today appears on control panels as well as on television, with its admitted goal of making the observer into either an accomplice or a potential victim, as in times of war." — Christa Blümlinger

"One must be just as wary of pictures as of words. There is no literature without linguistic criticism, without the author being critical of the existing language. It's just the same with film. One need not look for new, as yet unseen images, but one must work with existing ones in such a way that they become new." — Jörg Becker, TAZ, 1989

Assistant Director/Researcher: Michael Trabitzsch; Cinematographer: Ingo Kratisch; Animation Camera: Irina Hoppe; Editor: Rosa Mercedes with Harun Farocki; Negative Cut: Elke Granke; Sound: Klaus Klinger; Mixing: Gerhard Jensen-Nelson; Narrator: Ulrike Grote; Production: Harun Farocki Filmproduction, Berlin-West, with financial support from kuturellen Filmförderung NRW