January 2020: Digitization from Harun Farocki Institut
Between 2016 and 2019 we digitized the following film and video materials from the archive of the Harun Farocki Institut:
RONNY AND HARUN ACT UP (1982)
16mm reversal film, color, magnetic tape
2K digitization, October 2016
Documentation of a performance from the trailer made for BEFORE YOUR EYES – VIETNAM. It took place in the foyer of the Delphi-Theater on the occasion of the screening of the film at the Berlinale Forum. Actors: Ronny Tanner and Harun Farocki.
ON DISPLAY: PETER WEISS (1979)
16mm, b/w, magnetic tape
2K digitization, October 2016
Film shooting in Stockholm. Unused interview material from ON DISPLAY: PETER WEISS.
In conversation: Peter Weiss and Harun Farocki.
HARD SELLING (1991)
21/22 min (two slightly differing versions)
S-VHS, colour, sound
digitization, September 2017
An unfinished film by Farocki from 1991. Farocki travels through Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with Adidas representative Klaus Glahn. Car trips through the “new states,” talks between Farocki and Glahn in the car, visits of chain stores by the salesman, who is supposed to build up a network of retailers after the fall of the wall.
CONVERSATION WITH GISELA TROWE (ca. 1983)
16mm reversal, color, magnetic tape
2K digitization, April 2018
Gisela Trowe played a small role in Peter Lorre’s film THE LOST ONE. For the WDR production THE DOUBLE FACE OF PETER LORRE (1984) Farocki and Felix Hofmann filmed a conversation with her. The material was not used in the finished programme.
SCREEN TESTS: BEFORE YOUR EYES – VIETNAM (ca. 1980)
16mm, s/w, magnetic tape
2K digitization, June 2019
Actresses and an actor rehearsing for the film BEFORE YOUR EYES – VIETNAM (1982).
IMAGES/HISTORIES (ca. 1987)
Shooting of “Images of the world and inscription of war”
16mm reversal, colour, magnetic tape
2K digitization, October 2019
A group of school children visits the museum collection of antiquities. Under the guidance of a museum educator, a blind girl describes two statues – one made of bronze, one of marble. The material was presumably shot for IMAGES-WAR (1987) and IMAGES OF THE WORLD AND THE INSCRIPTION OF WAR (1988), but was not used in the finished film.
The digitization work made between 2017 and 2019 was realized within the framework of Archive außer sich, a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of The New Alphabet, a HKW project supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
February 3rd, 2020 — Archive / Showcase
Lauren Berlant, the brilliant theorist of “cruel optimism” and related issues, died of a rare form of cancer on June 28. The following, devastatingly optimistic quote is from a 2016 essay on the commons as “infrastructures for troubling times,” part of a book that they worked on with the typically double-edged title On the Inconvenience of Other People: “What remains for our pedagogy of unlearning is to build affective infrastructures that admit the work of desire as the work of an aspirational ambivalence. What remains is the potential we have to common infrastructures that absorb the blows of our aggressive need for the world to accommodate us and our resistance to adaptation and that, at the same time, hold out the prospect of a world worth attaching to that’s something other than an old hope’s bitter echo. A failed episode is not evidence that the project was in error. By definition, the common forms of life are always going through a phase, as infrastructures will.”
Some basics from the Strike MoMA site: “Campaigns, actions, and letters chip away at the regime’s facade from the outside. Inside, every time workers organize, defy the boss, care for a coworker, disrespect secrecy, or enact other forms of subversion, cracks are created in the core. Cracking and chipping, chipping and cracking. As the walls that artificially separate the museum from the world collapse, we reorient away from the institution and come together to make plans. Let us strike in all the ways possible to exit from the terms of the museum so we can set our own.”
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
David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”
September 7th, 2020
T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk: “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”
August 21st, 2020