November 2017: Instructions on how to Pull off Police Helmets

For the Berlin retrospective of Harun Farocki’s work, we made an effort to find and digitize as many hitherto unknown films from the archives of television channels as possible. A few gaps in the filmography remained – including the two short spots INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PULL OFF POLICE HELMETS and UNTITLED OR: NIXON COMES TO BERLIN, both made in 1969.

Farocki presumed the films to be lost. Surprisingly, they resurfaced just now, in November 2017. Thomas Giefer, dffb student of the year 1967 and one of the 18 students relegated in 1968, found them among the films he kept from the time.

Here’s an image from INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PULL OFF POLICE HELMETS, filmed from the Steenbeck by Giefer.

Farocki about the film: »According to Fritz J. Raddatz, Rosa Luxemburg cried when she read Marx’s concept of value. I was just as disappointed by the Cine-Tracts made in May 1968 in Paris and shown shortly afterwards in Berlin.

I must have been expecting something more like television news coverage; in much the same way, each crowd which saw our handbill films during those years was similarly disappointed. Because we didn’t make ‘real’ films, as my mother called them, it seemed to them that their cause wasn’t being acknowledged in suitably official form, something which workers’ films and Fassbinder were later to achieve.

We made this spot during one of the many breaks in filming a somewhat reckless film about playgroups by Susanne Beyeler. Wolfgang Gremm stripped naked on a flat roof and played a policeman. We played on the anti-humanist provocation of showing, purely technically, how to fight a policeman, but didn’t go so far as to use an androgynous, long-haired actor – something which Gremm, the fattest and shortest-haired of us all, accepted with a grin.«

November 30th, 2017, Archive / Showcase
Interface

After all the buzz and clamor caused by the 2019 re-opening of the extended MoMA and the much celebrated rehang of its permanent collection, N+1 publishes a sobering curatorial fantasy (by Claire Bishop and Nikki Columbus) on what should have been done instead to come to terms with the “outrageous disconnect between saying and doing at this museum—the brazen hypocrisy and superficial multiculturalism.”

January 8th, 2020, HaFI

You have probably watched Ricky Gervais yesterday’s Golden Globe speech already, or read about it, so this is not exactly news to you. Still, it deserves mentioning and posting, particularly if you haven’t seen it yet, notwithstanding all its shortcomings. If simply for the fact that Gervais here shows a welcome (and rare) structural, dialectic, and pretty pitiless understanding of

a) his own debatable role at the ceremony and in the industry as such;
b) the game-shifting changes in the media industry caused by monopoly digital streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple;
c) the necessity to (once again) question the public performance of the political amid the liberal Hollywood establishment;
d) the systemic contradiction between “progressive” media content (“quality TV”) and the outrageously destructive economies and technologies on which this content and its providers gleefully rely;
e) the blatant inconsistency in the actions of the media industry people when it comes to not only complaining about racism but actually fight it;

and much more…

January 6th, 2020, HaFI
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