115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

“Uncalculated Beauty”: Harun Farocki’s Theory of Surveillance Imagery

Martin Blumenthal-Barby, Rice University

I will tackle the peculiar visual economy of surveillance images by way of a close reading of Farocki’s recent installation Counter-Music (2004), investigating the mysterious efficacy of these images which have no human producer, are devoid of human intention, and are not viewed by human beings but analyzed by automatic recognition software. How does the gradual abolition of human beings relate to the poetic fabric of Farocki’s installation, especially his intricate split-screen aesthetics (“soft montage”) that emphatically engages viewers.