Filipa César and Louis Henderson present four films by Harun Farocki: War at a Distance (2003) and Parallel I, II and III from the four-part series Parallel (2012-14). Following the screening, they will be in conversation with Erika Balsom, senior lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College London.
The event will focus on three interrelated themes: the movement from analogue film to digital imaging as a parallel to developments in optical navigation technologies; the role of computer generated imagery and representation in documentary filmmaking; and the entanglement of military advancements in optics with a politics of vision and visibility in image-making.
Rather than drawing a comparison, the event will highlight the influences and confluences between Farocki’s work and the research César and Henderson have carried out while making their recent collaborative film Sunstone (2017), currently on view as part of their exhibition Op Film: An Archaeology of Optics at Gasworks.
About Parallel (from Video Data Bank):
The four‐part cycle Parallel deals with the image genre of computer animation. The series focuses on the construction, visual landscape and inherent rules of computer-animated worlds.
“Computer animations are currently becoming a general model, surpassing film. In films, there is the wind that blows and the wind that is produced by a wind machine. Computer images do not have two kinds of wind.” Harun Farocki
Parallel I (2012, HD video, 16 min.) opens up a history of styles in computer graphics. The first games of the 1980s consisted of only horizontal and vertical lines. This abstraction was seen as a failing, and today representations are oriented towards photo‐realism
Parallel II (2014, HD video, 9 min.) explores the borders and boundaries of the game worlds. The work follows characters attempts to escape the edges of their animated world by any means, and seeks to reveal what lies outside of the defined spaces and digital borders.
Parallel III (2014, HD video, 7 min.) seeks out the backdrops of the game worlds and the nature of their digital objects. It reveals digital worlds which take the form of discs floating in the universe—reminiscent of pre-Hellenistic conceptions of the universe. The animated worlds appear as one-sided theatre stages, flat backdrops revealed only by the movements of an omniscient camera. The objects in the worlds often do not react to 'natural forces'. Each of their properties must be separately constructed and assigned to them.
About War at a Distance (2003, video, 54 min.):
Since the Gulf War in 1991, warfare and reporting it have become hyper-technological affairs, in which real and computer-generated images cannot be distinguished any more. With the aid of new and also unique archive material, Farocki sketches a picture of the relationship between military strategy and industrial production and shows how war technology finds its way into everyday use.
-- International Film Festival catalogue, Rotterdam (2004)
Erika Balsom is senior lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College London, focusing on the history of the moving image in art and experimental documentary practices. Her most recent book, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation, was published by Columbia University Press this spring. She is author of Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013), the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (2016), and a frequent contributor to the magazines Artforum and Sight and Sound.