In Comparison: Work by Harun Farocki

Oct. 26 + 27 - 7:30 pm

About This Screening

With a career spanning over four decades and over ninety films, German filmmaker Harun Farocki has ceaselessly produced politically and artistically challenging works that "are a constant dialogue with images, with image making, and with the institutions that produce and circulate these images” (Thomas Elsaesser). This season, Cinema Project brings Farocki’s latest, In Comparison. Shot on 16mm, the film revisits issues explored in an earlier installation piece, examining work and social structures via brick production sites. Various traditions of brick-making are brought as examples—from cutting-edge European factories to wall builders in Burkina Faso, and semi-industrialized mouldings in India—as a way to compare, rather than incite competition of these cultures and their work processes. Opening the program is Farocki’s short video from 1995, Workers Leaving the Factory, a socio-political take on the 1895 Lumière film of the same name. [W]hat is so crucial about the Lumière's Workers Leaving the Factory is not only the emblematic convergence of a particular technology, the cinematograph, with a particular site, the factory, but also the fact that, ever since these two made contact, collided, and combined, more and more workers have been leaving the factory. With the advent of the cinema, the very notion and place of human productivity, and the very function of human labour seems to have undergone momentous mutations, within and beyond the commodity form. What the new features of work, labour, creativity might be, we can only guess at, immobilized as our Western societies are between the ever longer queues of the unemployed outside, and the ever more numerous computer terminals-techno-mutants of the cinematograph-inside the workplace and in our homes.  —Thomas Elsaesser

Program Details

October 26 + 27
  • Workers Leaving the Factory
    1995, video, color/b&w, sound, 36 min.
  • In Comparison
    2009, 16mm, color, sound, 61 min.

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