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e-flux conversations

Watch and Learn

“In our hands they must become weapons ... ”
— Harun Farocki, The Words of the Chairman, 1967.

Using controlled methods, sometimes even irony, Farocki takes apart over and over again, piece by piece, our place as victim as well as culprit in this age where the image is loaded like a gun. It is a rage that is not violent, yet clearly spoken, and which is resting behind Farocki’s camera, not necessarily front and center on the screen. Demonstrating, describing, pointing out, and gesturing: his hands and his words shock, confuse, stir, and arouse us. But let us not get it wrong: it is not about what or how we are feeling, but more specifically, about how we see and how this is fabricated, and then asking ourselves “what do we do about that?”

Throughout Farocki’s work, cinema and video become looking glasses into themselves; into images and the demons set free when imbuing them with so much power. Despite the rage, there persists a retained vision—calm and confident, yet never arrogant—of the state of things. Yet, there is nothing esoteric or mysterious to it; images are powerful, and power does not hesitate to use them.

Read the full article here.