Czech Republic, 1944
The filmmaker and theorist Harun Farocki belongs to a long German tradition that focuses on the political metaphysics of technology, from Nietzsche to Marx, or from Hannah Arendt to the Frankfurt School. He studied film and television at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin and since the 1960s has created an extensive oeuvre that includes productions for television, feature films, film essays and video installations that explore the construction of images and examine their social and political implications. For Farocki, an image is a tool that is manufactured by power for a specific purpose and aimed at a specific audience. Much of his work is a meditation on contemporary wars and the way they are represented in the media. Farocki combines existing images with his own footage, and montage is central to his pieces; it is the process by which he shows how images work and reveals their underlying objective. Sometimes the two types of image come together, as in the case of Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges, which uses images shot by the filmmaker to comment on the ones that have been appropriated. Another major theme in Farocki’s work is the role of disciplinary institutions as precursors of control societies, and the manner and processes by which marketing becomes an instrument of social control. In Serious Games I-IV (2009–2010), a work composed of four video installations, Farocki positions video game technology within the context of the military, where it originated. The work juxtaposes real wartime exercises with virtual re-enactments in order to examine the links between technology, politics and violence.