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Recognize and Pursue. Harun Farocki Series (4)

Heurism of Images: Learning through Cinematic Devices

Wednesday, June 21, 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

If the starting point of Harun Farocki's film methodology is to challenge the limits of our knowledge (“what do I know?”), then the question I want to ask is about the filmic devices of this methodology. In the case of Farocki, it is the images themselves that enable this heuristic device to operate. By arguing that the stories of Farocki are not a mere “stuff” that he fits into films, I want to discuss in which way the formal operations of cinematic devices (such as dialectics of contradictions, and the excess of information) contribute to this methodology of learning. Following this theoretical introduction, I will demonstrate this argument by confronting two separate positions of the images of class struggle condensed into the representation of hands. I will compare the question of representing hands in Friedrich Engels's interpretation of Karl Hübner's painting The Silesian Weavers (1844) with Jacques Ranciére's thesis from Proletarian Nights (original title: La Nuit des prolétaires. Archives du rêve ouvrier, 1981) on the divorce of the eye from the hands. As a speculative conclusion to this experiment, I will ask in which way Farocki's filmic methodology could contribute to this historical and theoretical dilemma on the representation of hands as an image of class struggle.


Harun Farocki,
Der Ausdruck der Hände (The Expression of Hands), 1997, 30 min
Wie man sieht (As You See), 1986, 72 min

Presented by Sezgin Boynik

Sezgin Boynik is a theoretician based in Helsinki. He completed his Ph.D. on Yugoslav “Black Wave” cinema. Recent publications include Noise After Babel (Spector Books, 2015), and the article “Ideologies of Artistic Education” (Inca Press, 2016). He is editor-in-chief of Rab-Rab: journal for political and formal inquiries in art (

The event will be held in English.

Event note: on June 20 at 5pm, Sezgin Boynik is holding a lecture at The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, room M13a.

€ 6 / reduced € 4.50