Christoph Hübner - Dokumentarisch Arbeiten Modell/Realität - C.Hübner im Gespräch mit H. Farocki (2004)

This is a documentary/interview about/with Harun Farocki.

Harun Farocki was born in Novi Jicín in 1944 in what is today the Czech Republic. He studied at the German Cinematic and Television Academy (DFFB) in Berlin, from which he was expelled in 1968 for political reasons. In addition to writing theoretical texts, he has scripted numerous films and television productions. His work has been shown in international retrospectives and has received many awards. Farocki’s early films are marked by ideas of a cultural revolution as formulated by the increasingly radical Left of the time and are explicitly developed as effective means of political propaganda. In this way, "Inextinguishable Fire" (1968/69) seizes upon the Vietnam War as one of the quintessential themes of the student movement. While his politically-motivated educational films subject the audience to an analytical and consciousness-raising agenda, the subsequent auctorial, essayistic, and documentary films call for a more active reception on behalf of the audience itself. Thus the documentaries consciously refrain from any interpretation of the events portrayed, while presenting quotidian life in a clearly visible form that reveals its hidden capitalistic logic. Parallel to this, cinematic essays arise, which question the very use of film as a pictorial medium. Through both montage and a deliberate composition of either intentionally filmed or found materials, Farocki produces a subtext, which opens up the technical, socio-political, and cultural contexts of meaning in the production, distribution, and reception of images. In works such as "Videograms of a Revolution" (1992), assembled entirely from found footage, Farocki manages to set up a completely new narrative order. In these works he thematizes the interactions of historic processes and their representation in the media. Since the end of the 1990s, Farocki has been increasingly involved in creating video works within an exhibition context, e. g., at the Documenta X, 1997. His latest installations are concerned with the instrumentalization of the camera as a tool of supervision and control: "I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts" (2001 produced by the Generali Foundation) makes visually apparent the transition from a disciplinarian society to one of social control with the use of video footage from a surveillance camera. Similarly, "Eye/Machine I" (2002) shows just how far the use of images for technical supervisory purposes in both the military and civilian sectors has already progressed. (Luisa Ziaja)

The feature gives an insightful look at Farocki's later work (discussing with Farocki e.g. Eye/Machine), approach and thinking.
About the film:

Christoph Hübner besuchte Harun Farocki in seinen Wohn- und Arbeitsräumen in Berlin, wo er gerade am dritten Teil seiner Filminstallation "Auge/Maschine" zum Thema "intelligente" Waffen arbeitete. Im Gespräch äußert sich Farocki über sein aktuelles Interesse am Thema Krieg, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Kinos und seine "Vermeidungsstrategien" beim Filmemachen: "Man könnte alles, was ich mache, stilistisch so beschreiben, dass ich die größten Blamagen vermeide, die man üblicherweise an bestimmten Stellen macht: bestimmte Erklärungen, bestimmte "establishing shots", Herleitungen einer Situation, eine bestimmte Charakterisierung, die auf ein allzu leicht schon vorhandenes Vorverständnis stößt.

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