Black Box/White Cube
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Black Box/White Cube
Once called “Germany’s best-known unknown filmmaker,” Harun Farocki makes experimental documentaries and “essay films” that explore the use of images and ways of seeing, as well as questioning and commenting on the nature of film-making itself. In this retrospective series, IHP presents some of Farocki’s most recent work that has screened in (White Cube) gallery settings as well as (Black Box) cinema settings.
“The tone is that of wonder, the inflection is that of astonishment: in Farocki’s cinema, a child’s sense of surprise is never far away, but it always surges up most forcefully when he is asking himself about the status and nature of images.” – Thomas Elsaesser, Senses of Cinema
Eye Machine I, II, and III
dir. Harun Farocki, Germany, 2001-2004, video, b/w and color,
65min., German with English subtitles
In Eye Machine I, II, and III, Harun Farocki utilizes a vast collection of image sequences from laboratories, archives and production facilities to explore modern weapons technology. This trilogy examines “intelligent” image processing techniques such as electronic surveillance, mapping, and object recognition, in order to take a closer look at the relationship between man, machine, and modern warfare.
dir. Harun Farocki, Netherlands/Germany, 2007, video, b/w, 39 min., silent
Respite consists of silent black-and-white films shot at Westerbork, a Dutch refugee camp established in 1939 for Jews fleeing Germany. In 1942, after the occupation of Holland, its function was reversed by the Nazis and it became a ‘transit camp.’ In 1944, the camp commander commissioned a film, shot by photographer Rudolph Breslauer. By exhuming the scattered fragments and traces of the phantom film (intertitle cards, ideas for the scenario, graphic elements), Harun Farocki inscribes the Dutch footage within the genre of the corporate film.
dir. Harun Farocki, France/Germany, 2009, video, color, 61min.,
German with English subtitles
“Bricks are the resonating fundamentals of society. Bricks are layers of clay that sound like records, just simply too thick. Like records they appear in series, but every brick is slightly different – not just another brick in the wall. Bricks create spaces, organize social relations, and store knowledge on social structures. They resonate in a way that tells us if they are good enough or not. Bricks form the fundamental sound of our societies, but we haven’t learned to listen to them.
“Through different traditions of brick production Farocki’s film has our eyes and ears consider them in comparison and not in competition, not as clash of cultures. Farocki shows us various brick production sites in their colors, movements, and sounds. Brick burning, brick carrying, bricklaying, bricks on bricks, no off-commentary. 20 intertitles in 60 minutes tell us something about the temporality of working processes. The film shows us that certain production modes require their own duration and that cultures differentiate around the time of the brick.” – Ute Holl