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Recognize and Pursue. Harun Farocki Series (2)

The Border as Event. Game and Narrative in the Work of Harun Farocki

Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 19:00

July 30, 2017, is the third anniversary of Harun Farocki’s passing. To keep his work as a filmmaker and artist, and as an author and teacher, alive and also to make it available (anew) as a resource to a younger generation, Sabeth Buchmann and Constanze Ruhm, in cooperation with Jens Kastner, have devised a comprehensive series of lectures and events. As teachers, whose approach is close to Farocki’s own thinking and practice, Buchmann, Ruhm, and Kastner wish to readdress his work in film and as an author by focusing on his teaching activities. This relates to his highly influential role as a professor for film and art from 2004 to 2011 at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Farocki’s students profited greatly from his film analysis, with its accomplished use of film and media theory and political reflection; as did the interested general public that came to his screenings of his own films and of the films of others. In this sense, this program of events entitled Recognize and Pursue (relating to Farocki’s Erkennen und Verfolgen from 2003) which will take place within the auspices of a lecture series of the same name at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, will focus on Farocki’s profound interest in the relationships between image and politics and between practice and theory. It was not least Farocki’s own approach to teaching that made him a key influence on a young generation of artists and authors in particular in the field of documentary film.

Guests include Michael Baute (March, 29), Christine Lang (May 31), Thomas Elsaesser (June 14), and Sezgin Boynik (June 21). They will each compile and present a film program with a focus on a specific question connected with the work of Harun Farocki.

Lectures series at The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna: Jens Kastner (March 7), Volker Pantenburg (March 21), Michael Baute (March 28), Tom Holert (April 4), Filipa César (May 2), Christa Blümlinger (May 9), Thomas Heise (May 16), Maren Grimm (May 23), Christine Lang (May 30), Antje Ehmann, Sabeth Buchmann, and Constanze Ruhm (June 8), Diedrich Diederichsen (June 13), Sezgin Boynik (June 20).

Conceived by Sabeth Buchmann and Constanze Ruhm, in cooperation with Jens Kastner and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

In his last video work, Parallele I-IV (Parallels I–IV) (2014), Harun Farocki explored the aesthetics of digital images in computer games. By playing sequences “against the rules,“ Farocki asks as to the border of these game worlds resembling theater stages and questions the ability of the figures in them to take action. In these thoughts, Farocki draws on a discourse on the conditions of performing games and narrative that runs through his entire oeuvre on cinema. In the 1975 film Erzählen (About Narration) made together with Ingemo Engström, Jurij Lotman‘s theory of transgressing borders is reflected explicitly in the spatial structure of the narrative. In the 1983 work, Jean-Marie Straub und Danièle Huillet bei der Arbeit an einem Film nach Franz Kafkas Romanfragment “Amerika” (Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on a Film Based on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika”) it is working with the language of a character in role-play that becomes the object of documentary analysis. When looking at these films together, a question that Farocki himself implied emerges—whether the fundamental difference between a narrative and a game can be made out in the limited language of the characters in a game and also in the fact that these characters cannot transgress specific borders.


Harun Farocki,
Parallele II (Parallel II), 2014, 9 min
Parallele IV (Parallel IV), 2014, 11 min
Erzählen (About Narration), 1975, 58 min
Jean-Marie Straub und Danièle Huillet bei der Arbeit an einem Film nach Franz Kafkas Romanfragment „Amerika“ (Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on a Film Based on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika”), 1983, 26 min

Presented by Christine Lang

Christine Lang is a cultural studies expert, filmmaker, and dramaturge. She teaches media aesthetics and dramaturgy, including at the Film University KONRAD WOLF in Babelsberg. Website:

Event note: on May 30 at 6pm, Christine Lang is holding a lecture at The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, room M13a

€ 6 / reduced € 4.50

Program at mumok