HaFI 014: Harun Farocki: Hard Selling: Reframed by Elske Rosenfeld
“I also don’t know the five new federal states and, if I want to film there, I have to have a leading figure. It is the profiteer, development aid worker and missionary all in one. He breaks into the accession area from the West in army strength. The film is about such a salesman.” –– Harun Farocki, 1990/91
HaFI 014 publishes a typescript and archival materials related to the television film Hard Selling (1991) by Harun Farocki. For this unfinished project, Farocki documented an Adidas sales training in East Berlin in 1990. In the period after July 1991 he accompanied a West German Adidas salesman on his trade tour through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Thus, Farocki explored the operational details of introducing the logic of the free market in a country formerly trained in planned economy. Although the broadcast of Hard Selling was announced in the program booklet of the DFF—the successor to GDR television—for 13 November 1991, it did not take place. The TV-station was dissolved six weeks later.
The artist Elske Rosenfeld follows the film stills, fragments of conversations and announcement texts of Farocki’s Hard Selling. She mobilizes the figure of the “window” as a frame to transpose the languages and gazes at shop windows, screens and trainers into a poetic-analytical editing. In the resulting text/image essay Rosenfeld updates her ongoing archive of gaze-images. An editorial note by Doreen Mende introduces HaFI014.
Elske Rosenfeld, born 1974 in Halle/S. (GDR), works in different media and formats. Her primary focus and material are the histories of state-socialism and its dissidences, and the revolution of 1989/90. Documents and archives are starting points for organising spaces in which these hi/stories can come to be present. Her ongoing project “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures” investigates how political events manifest and come to be archived in the bodies of their protagonists.
HaFI 014 is available on Motto Books for 9 Euro.
HaFI 014 is published in the context of Archive außer sich, a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art within the cooperation The Whole Life: An Archive Project, together with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Pina Bausch Foundation and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Archive außer sich is part of HKW’s project The New Alphabet, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
April 8th, 2021 — Projects / Publication
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
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