Screening Farocki – Worth Seeing

An Image
1983. Colour. 25 min. German, English subtitles

Four days spent in a studio working on a centerfold photo for Playboy magazine provided the subject matter for my film. The magazine itself deals with culture, cars, a certain lifestyle. Maybe all those trappings are only there to cover up the naked woman. Maybe it’s like with a paper-doll. The naked woman in the middle is a sun around which a system revolves: of culture, of business, of living! (It’s impossible to either look or film into the sun.) One can well imagine that the people creating such a picture, the gravity of which is supposed to hold all that, perform their task with as much care, seriousness, a responsibility as if they were splitting uranium. This film, An Image, is part of a series I’ve been working on since 1979. The television station that commissioned it assumes in these cases that I’m making a film that is critical of its subject matter, and the owner or manager of the thing that’s being filmed assumes that my film is an advertisement for them. I try to do neither. Nor do I want to do something in between, but beyond both. (Harun Farocki, Zelluloid, no. 27, Fall 1988)

The Creators of the Shopping Worlds
2005. Colour. 72 min. German, English subtitles

Shopping is an everyday cultural act; it is inevitable, taken for granted. Entering into the world of shopping – the world of shopping malls – can be a Dantean voyage into hell or a redeeming ceremony of Communion. Everyone is familiar with this experience and knows what a mall looks like. This self-evident phenomenon is, however, the result of a highly complex process. The designing of shopping malls is overseen by an army of planners, managers and scientists: there are consultants, re-launch analysts, a central association, mall magazines. 6000 guests and laboratories attended an annual convention in Las Vegas at which such questions were investigated as where the gaze of a customer falls and how a ‘spontaneous’ purchase can be induced. Farocki shows how mall producers look at malls when they want to find out, for example, how passers-by move, where they stop and where they reach for an article. He adds these images to the everyday ones – and gives them a magical charge. (Antje Ehmann)

Beirut Art Center

March 23 at 8pm

Entrance: 3 000 LL

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