Serious Games (Harun Farocki)

“If art can directly contribute to something that is of course very questionable. Probably art can be part of a discourse, perhaps it can, not just repeat what a discourse is already working on, but find a different nuance, a different approach to questions which are also discussed with other means elsewhere.”

Interview with Harun Farocki about film, politics, representation and his video installation “Serious Games”.

The interview was filmed in Àngels Barcelona during the setting up of Farocki’s exhibition.

Barcelona, February 2011

read the interview>>

*Harun Farocki was an author, filmmaker, and curator. He studied at the German Cinematic and Television Academy (dffb) in Berlin, from which he was expelled in 1968 for political reasons. Since 1966 he has created over 100 productions for television and film. Since 1995 he has become increasingly involved in the exhibition context, produced video installations for a gallery setting, and had numerous group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries. Farocki was also a prolific writer; from 1974 until 1984 he was the author and editor of the influential journal Filmkritik (Munich) and has also published his writings in Trafic (Paris) and other magazines. Other publications include Speaking about Godard, New York/Berlin (with Kaja Silverman, 1998–99), Cinema Like Never Before (ed. with Antje Ehmann/Generali Foundation, 2006), Serious Games. War I Media I Art (ed. with Beil/Ehmann/Mathildenhöhe, 2011). From 1993 until 1999 he was visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004 Farocki became a guest professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and in 2006 he was appointed full professor.

For HF

We regret to announce the passing of Harun Farocki on 30 July 2014. He was 70 years of age. From 1967 onwards, Harun Farocki directed more than 120 films and installations that analysed the powers of the image with an originality, a prescience and a gravitas that renewed itself, year after year, project after project. In his teaching and his essays, in journals and books and exhibitions conceived and produced with Antje Ehmann, Farocki was a powerful critic, editor, theorist and curator in his own right. Generations of artists, theorists and critics have taken Farockis films such as Inextinguishable Fire (1969) and Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988) and installations such as Deep Play (2007) as reference points. His impact and influence on culture, within and beyond Germany, is undisputed. He was, and remains, a commanding figure of contemporary culture. Despite his numerous commitments, Farocki was always generous with his time, his ideas and his attention. Unlike many artists from the 1960s, Farocki was neither nostalgic nor bitter. He was forward-looking, youthful, humorous, restless, unpretentious, enquiring, skeptical, stylish and handsome. He loved football, a drink of beer and smoking his favourite cigarettes, with his friends from his travels and with his life partner Antje Ehmann. Harun Farocki, was and is, irreplaceable. We are proud to have counted ourselves among his many, many friends. We admired him and we loved him and we learnt from him, always. To say that we will miss him is an understatement that he would have appreciated.

(Kodwo Eshun)