Dossier: Westdeutscher Rundfunk in the 1970s

At the Essay Film Festival 2017, the idea emerged to compile a dossier for the journal “Critical Studies in Television” focusing on some of the specificities of the TV branch of “Westdeutscher Rundfunk” in Cologne in the Mid 1970s.

As a first step towards this, the online journal NECSus dedicated its section on “Audiovisual Essays” to this topic in Autumn 2017. It also made three works from this period accessible, amongst others Harun Farocki’s “Telekritik” on Basil Wright’s SONG OF CEYLON:

* Towards an alternative history of the Video-Essay: The Case of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne

In March 2019, at the occasion of the Essay Film Festival 2019, featuring works by Günter Peter Straschek including the five part series FILM EMIGRATION FROM NAZI GERMANY, made at WDR (commissioning editor: Werner Dütsch), the dossier has now been published in CST.

It contains a contextualizing essay by Volker Pantenburg, an essay by Werner Dütsch about his work at WDR, and three documents including one page from the draft to ABOUT NARRATION (1975) by Harun Farocki and Ingemo Engström.

The contents of this dossier are (link) are available for free for a short time, then they will be behind a paywall.

April 6th, 2019 — Projects / Research

On Friday, April 6, 2021, at 8 p.m., Akademie Schloss Solitude will host a Zoom event with former HaFI Residency fellowship holder Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible” (2017). Moderated by Doreen Mende. To register, click here.

April 14th, 2021

The magazine MONOPOL currently features an interview (in German) with Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible,” which she conceived and shot during her HaFI residency in 2017.

April 14th, 2021

via Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”


Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”


Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020
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