Images of the World and the Inscription of War

Harun Farocki

1988 | 01:17:03 | Germany | German | B&W and Color | 4:3 | 16mm film

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: European Film/Video, History, Photography, War

The vanishing point of Images of The World is the conceptual image of the 'blind spot' of the evaluators of aerial footage of the IG Farben industrial plant taken by the Americans in 1944. Commentaries and notes on the photographs show that it was only decades later that the CIA noticed what the Allies hadn't wanted to see: that the Auschwitz concentration camp is depicted next to the industrial bombing target. (At one point during this later investigation, the image of an experimental wave pool - already visible at the beginning of the film - flashes across the screen, recognizably referring to the binding of the gaze: for one's gaze and thoughts are not free when machines, in league with science and the military, dictate what is to be investigated. Farocki thereby puts his finger on the essence of media violence, a "terrorist aesthetic" (Paul Virilio) of optic stimulation, which today appears on control panels as well as on television, with its admitted goal of making the observer into either an accomplice or a potential victim, as in times of war.

-- Christa Blümlinger

One must be just as wary of pictures as of words. There is no literature without linguistic criticism, without the author being critical of the existing language. It's just the same with film. One need not look for new, as yet unseen images, but one must work with existing ones in such a way that they become new.

-- Jörg Becker, TAZ, 1989

Assistant Director/Researcher: Michael Trabitzsch; Cinematographer: Ingo Kratisch; Animation Camera: Irina Hoppe; Editor: Rosa Mercedes with Harun Farocki; Negative Cut: Elke Granke; Sound: Klaus Klinger; Mixing: Gerhard Jensen-Nelson; Narrator: Ulrike Grote; Production: Harun Farocki Filmproduction, Berlin-West, with financial support from kuturellen Filmförderung NRW

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