Harun Farocki






Harun Farocki was born in 1944 in Novy Jicin (Czech Republic, annexed to Germany at the time). In 1966, he entered the German Cinematic and Television Academy (DFFB) in Berlin, from which he was expelled in 1968 for political reasons. Farocki has written essays, film and television scripts. His work was exhibited at Documenta 12 in Kassel and in many international retrospectives.

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. His subsequent auctorial, essayistic, and documentary films call for a more active reception on behalf of the audience itself.

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 likeVideograms of a Revolution (1992), entirely made from found footage–images taken from Romanian television–, Farocki configures a completely new narrative order. In this works, thematizes the interactions between historical processes and their representation in the media.

Since the late 1990s, Farocki explores the creation of video works and installations for exhibition contexts, such as Documenta 10, in 1997. His latest installations are about the use of the camera as an instrument for monitoring and control: I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts (2001) reveals the transition from a disciplinary society to a control society through the use of video from a security camera. Likewise, Eye / Machine (2002) shows how far it has progressed the use of images with technical monitoring purposes in the civilian and military.

His most recent works include: Harun Farocki. First Time in Warsaw, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujadowski Castle, Warsaw, 2012 (curator and publication); Video Installations at the former,Hotel Pythagoras, Samos, 2012; Serious Games. War – Media – Art, Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, 2011 (curator and publication); Tropen des Krieges, Gorki Theater, Berlin, 2011 (exhibition with Harun Farocki), Three Early Films (with Kodwo Eshun & Bart van der Heide), Cubitt Gallery, London, 2009 (curator); Harun Farocki. 22 films, 1968–2009 (curated with Stuart Comer & Kodwo Eshun), Tate Modern, London, 2009; Harun Farocki. Against What? Against Whom?(publication with Kodwo Eshun), Köln. 2009.