Harun Farocki Diagrams
Alexander Alberro & Thomas Elsaesser

Conversation Documentation
Monday, September 8, 2014

Originally programmed to mark the launch of a new publication on Harun Farocki’'s films titled Harun Farocki Diagrams. Images From Ten Films, this event will pay tribute to and celebrate the work and life of the groundbreaking German filmmaker.

Art historian Alexander Alberro and film theorist Thomas Elsaesser will discuss the impact of Harun Farocki’'s work, and introduce a screening of the 1988 film Images of the World and the Inscription of War. This seminal essay film considers the technology of photography and the mediation of the world through images, as intertwined with militarized mechanisms of surveillance, measurement and destruction. Centering on the historical incidence of aerial photographs of Auschwitz taken by Allied forces in 1944, but only identified as such by the CIA in 1977, the film is indicative of Farocki'’s implication of “allegorical objects – objects that we must first decipher and then use in further deciphering” (Hal Foster).

The publication Harun Farocki Diagrams – produced by designer Benedikt Reichenbach with Farocki, on the occasion of the filmmaker'’s 70th birthday in January 2014 – provides a visual access to the work in the form of a book. It traces the dynamics within ten of his films (including Images of the World) through the arrangement of still images. By means of repetition, interruption and displacement, the book seeks to follow mechanisms of order and open-endedness that are characteristic of Farocki'’s work in general. Presented alongside each film’'s complete commentaries, dialogues and intertitles, as well as a number of commissioned essays, Harun Farocki Diagrams celebrates the films'’ major critical gesture: the exposition of mediality.