Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 7:30pm
Images of the World and the Inscription of War

177 Livingston Street, Brooklyn - PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS

Images of the World and the Inscription of War
Harun Farocki, 16mm, 1988, 75 mins

Easily the most accomplished current essayist, and possibly the best unheralded contemporary filmmaker, is Czechoslovakia-born, Germany-based Harun Farocki. Imagine a tryst between Andy Warhol and a Marxist Frederick Wiseman. - Paul Arthur, Film Comment

This beguiling meditation on vision, power and Aufklärung (the German word for both ‘enlightenment’ and ‘aerial surveillance’) centers on historical accident…Farocki zigzags like a dialectician free-associating off this event. The cumulative effect is both arabesque and critical, a metahistory of the eye. - Village Voice

Harun Farocki’s Images of the World and the Inscription of War is unquestionably one of the most influential, quoted and urgent essay films of the past twenty years. By turns curious and furious, the film examines aerial photographs of Auschwitz taken by American bombers searching for targets like munitions factories and chemical plants used to fuel the Nazi war efforts. Somehow the long, sinewy lines of people huddled before gas chambers went unseen. Rather, they were not what the CIA was looking for and were therefore left unexamined and unidentified. The photographs were promptly filed away, only to be unearthed thirty years later. Probing these documents and juxtaposing them with photographs taken by the Nazis, as well as images illustrated by Alfred Kantor, a camp prisoner, Farocki weaves together a sharp, provocative, and multi-layered refutation of photographic reality, using many other tangents that build upon his argument in ways unconventional and intuitive. - Cinematheque Ontario

The title Images of the World and the Inscription of War suggests not only a mediation of the world by images, but also an embeddedness of war in this mediation, and "inscription" implies that both require decoding. Immediately, then, Farocki announces his primary theme--the imbrication of instruments of representation and destruction--which the seventy-five-minute film proceeds to examine through specific examples that, as they are repeated, take on the hermeneutic form of allegorical objects--objects that we must first decipher and then use in further deciphering. - Hal Foster, Artforum

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Print courtesy Goethe-Institut Boston