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
Harun Farocki was born in Novi Jicín in 1944 in what is today the Czech Republic. He studied at the German Cinematic and Television Academy (DFFB) in Berlin, from which he was expelled in 1968 for political reasons. In addition to writing theoretical texts, he has scripted numerous films and television productions. His work was shown at Documenta 12 in Kassel and in numerous international retrospectives and has received many awards.
Farocki’s early films are marked by ideas of a cultural revolution as formulated by the increasingly radical Left of the time and are explicitly developed as effective means of political propaganda. In this way, “Inextinguishable Fire” (1968/69) seizes upon the Vietnam War as one of the quintessential themes of the student movement. While his politically-motivated educational films subject the audience to an analytical and consciousness-raising agenda, the subsequent auctorial, essayistic, and documentary films call for a more active reception on… read more