Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo presents a new installation of Parallel I-IV, the last completed work by the artist and filmaker Harun Farocki (1944-2014). “I am researching these strange new images which are somehow on the verge of competing with and defeating finally the cinematic-photographic image. The era of reproduction seems to be over, and the era of construction of a new world seems to be somehow on the horizon, or not on the horizon, it is already here.”
With these words Farocki describes the series of 4 pieces entitled Parallel, a reflection on the status of the image in the digital age, a rigorous structural analysis of the processes through which reality is visually constructed, made possible by computer animation tools.
Farocki has worked as a film director since the 1960s, and for the past 5 decades he has been one of the
keenest observers of the political and social trends of his time, which he analyzes through the technological and linguistic developments of the moving image. A social scientist, artist-archaeologist, media theorist and political activist –these labels, which have been attached to him, give us an idea of the complexity and relevance of an author who has experimented with different genres and contexts, from documentary to film essay to video installation, from art cinema to television and the art and museum system. What remains the same across all of these different forms is his use of images in a critical, analytical perspective. This reflective attitude coexists with practice, and acts upon it as a propulsive force. The connivance of visual representation with certain forms of exploitation, from the surveillance industry to military violence, is a preferred subject of inquiry for Farocki who, in the words of philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman, has explored the modes in which “the production of images contributes to the destruction of the human being”.
Parallel I-IV, 2012-2014 focuses its attention on the evolution of digital animation as applied to videogames.
In the different chapters of this work, which coexist in the exhibiting space within a multi-channel immersive installation, Farocki carries out a stylistic analysis that begins with the earliest stages of this application, when graphic solutions were extremely rough and simplistic, and ends with the photo-realism of today’s programs. However, although they tend to become increasingly realistic and even naturalistic, these images are characterized by a lack of indexical relatedness to reality, unlike what happened with the film and photographic medium. It is no longer about recording and reproducing physical traces of reality, or documenting it objectively – it is about building realities from nothing, worlds that have their own structures and functioning rules, other than those of the outside world. As the narrator’s voice in Parallel I recites, “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”. No longer representations but ideal-typical models, these images will redefine and subvert our relationship with reality. Or maybe they already have.
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