On Specific Films
Texts by Harun Farocki
Anthologies on Harun Farocki’s work
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*On the Idea of a Molecular Seminar:
What exactly is a molecular seminar? Inspired by, among other things, our last discussions with Silvia and Graeme and the lectures from the Deleuze seminars which they prepared for us - we would like to imagine a seminar, focusing on some recurring issues in Harun Farocki's work, that would not be ‘lead’ by anyone in particular. And the statements or questions to be formulated through the screening series would not all be pre-planned. Rather we would create a situation, with some prepared elements to help frame a process of thought, some invited guests and some selected films. Then we would devote a few days for this prepared material. Finally, we would devote an entire afternoon to short statements or presentations (by those who would like) raising questions or ideas, which the screenings have stimulated or helped crystallize. We will keep a schedule in the space on Thursday and Friday, and people can sign up to make small presentations.
We would like to thank Harun, Antje, Tom, Jill, Jonathan, Anjalika, and Kodwo for making this event happen.
Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers Leaving the Factory), 1995
Something Becomes Visible is a series of conversations and screenings which will hopefully stimulate thoughts, questions and statements about our contemporary world. The seminar will unfold over the course of three days. There will be a lot of time devoted to watching the films. And we will use Saturday as a day to collectively formulate the questions that have emerged. We will conclude with a conversation with Harun Farocki. To help situate the work and the research, we will also have contributions from Benjamin Young, Tom Keenan, Jill Godmilow, Jonathan Kahana, and other guests / participants.
Ben has worked extensively in reviewing and preparing the material for this series and he will introduce the seminar on Thursday. Tom will follow up on Friday framing some of the questions he has been visiting through Harun's practice. Hopefully these efforts will stimulate a horizontal and contagious conversation, which should evolve further on Saturday.
The idea of this molecular seminar actually begins with a modest idea by Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann to have a discussion together at 16 Beaver.
Harun's work has been a very strong reference point in the practices of a number of individuals who have contributed to the development of the space. Since his earliest films in the 1960’s, Harun Farocki has been attempting to discover and develop a political practice of cinema. Taking his cue from the commitment of artists like Daniéle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, Farocki, in this 40 plus years, has amassed an impressive body of cinematic works. They are works which not only trace his personal political engagements, interests, or reflections on the human condition in the age of machines; they also serve as a formidable archive of research into images, histories of production, technologies and techniques which act upon, condition, and produce subjects. His works also act, in some respects, to affirm or discover a vocation for the techniques and apparatuses created by and available to humans (including cinema or photography), by putting them relentlessly on trial.
So the first question, we might ask, reformulating Jill Godmilow's What Farocki Taught, is What can Harun help us see, say, ask today? What kinds of discussions or ideas could his works bring to the fore?
And it is thus that Harun and Antje's original suggestion has evolved into the idea of a compact screening series which might do more than simply compile some of our favorite works or bring to the space someone whose work many of us admire.
How to use the films as a catalyst to help us formulate different positions, proposals, questions, or ideas we think are critical today?
We settled on a criteria for selecting the films, choosing to focus on a few inter-related points of interest:
B. Labor, Work, and the Production of Subjects and Objects.
C. Vision, Technology, and the Industrial Production of Destruction.
We came up with a schedule that would allow for some conversations around the work and watching some of the films (Day 1 and Day 2) followed by some time devoted to reflections/responses by participants and finally a conversation with Harun (Day 3):
Thursday, November 18, 7:00-9:30pm
This first conversation, led by Benjamin Young, will introduce some important films, themes, and critical observations.
Friday, November 19, 4:00-9:15pm
A second conversation, with Tom Keenan, will be followed by a screening of several of Harun’s films.
Saturday, November 20, 2:00-11:00pm
Part I will be devoted to reflections and articulations by invited guests and participants of the seminar. Among the confirmed contributors will be Jill Godmilow and Jonathan Kahana.
Part II will begin with a short screening and then a collectively moderated conversation with Harun Farocki.
For a full schedule, see the links at the top left of this page or simply click here.