Harun Farocki is a strange sort of a person. Although he has been making films since 1967, website like this he is a fairly new addition to the artisan world of video. Developing film as a creative medium since the mid 1990’s, approved his Against What? Against Whom? exhibition at the Raven Row gallery in East London feels very much retrospective. It is as if he is inadvertently peering back across his filmic history and showing his audience what he found out.
I sauntered in on a Friday afternoon and was surprised to find the exhibition space bustling with spectators. People from distant walks of life mosied from room to room, approved giving the labyrinth like gallery an almost homely feel. Picking up a leaflet and heading straight into the first room to see Eye/Machine III, I was somewhat at ease. Unfortunately, the first installation was not an entertaining piece. Two simultaneous projections of computerised views of bombs and aircrafts – and at twenty four minutes long, left me concerned that I had eight more to watch.
Fortunately, this was not the case. As the reels of the following pieces unravelled, the exhibition became more evocative and enthralling. The second piece documenting the archaic bricklaying techniques of the third world juxtaposed with more modern methods was a bridge into Farocki’s extensive knowledge of how film works. And indeed how to display film in an artistic approach.
Workers Leaving Factory © Harun Farocki
The two most outstanding works of the exhibition would have the most elite cinephile astounded. The first; Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades took on the Lumière Brothers original film, extending their original premise through the past century to show the anamorphism of the working class. Intersecting works across eleven screens, Farocki includes sights from film greats such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and, most recently, Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. Including headphones for sensory immersion, each headset contained a different score. I was blessed with some jovial and jaunty music (I’m assuming from the Chaplin piece but couldn’t be certain). The whole experience of the piece was like a historical document; not only of workers leaving a factory, but also of how filmmakers over time have captured this banal event to create something extraordinary.
inextinguishable Fire © Harun Farocki
The second, Feasting or Flying, made in collaboration with Antje Ehmann, follows the tragic hero in Hollywood. The six screen set is haunting and heart wrenching. Concentrating on male protagonist suicide, it is extremely fluid, spilling from screen to screen along with an overture of highly resonant and mournful scores. The whole experience signifies and remembers tragedy, with saturnine morose. Along with clips, posters and screens of red black inserts determine film, director and how the hero ended his life. Leaving the viewer subdued but deeply attentive, the piece is arresting and thought provoking, and worth the trip in itself.
Farocki once said ‘I always use more than one image, I compare the images, to see what they have in common, it is not a linear image. It’s a form of ‘soft montage,’ taking one image ‘a,’ finding it’s not quite right, and replacing it with ‘b’’. The exhibition at Raven Row is an epitome of Farocki’s way of thinking. Multiple screens; a continual flow of disorientating images, occasionally bombarding, but predominately enthralling. Farocki twists and manipulates images to create a visually provoking and perplexing set of works.
Not quite feeling in the festive mood yet?! We have put together a bit of a mix CD in blog styleee format just for you to get you feelin Christmasy!
Grace Beaumont, cheapest Earth Editor
Mariah Carey: “All I Want For Christmas”
Me and my friends did it for kareoke a few years ago and it was so fun! I like the video and Mariah just makes me lol in her santa outfit!
Rebecca Milne, cheap Music Editor
Bo Selecta: “Proper Crimbo”
This didn’t go down well at all when I played it in the office, but I lovesss it! It takes me back in particualr to last Chritmas when my sister and I were teaching our 8year old neice the lyrics when we were out in the car looking for the houses with the most christmas lights on it.
Luciana Saldanha, Music Contributor
I am originally from the sub tropical country of Brasil, and down there we do have quite a few Christmas songs to celebrate our rather hot, and sunny Christmas. I walked down Memory Lane – with the help of my laptop of course – and found a few (many) gems from Brasil, and, let me tell you, these songs took me straight back into the sweaty arms of our Brazilian version of Santa Claus. My chosen one would be “Aconteceu”, because it reminds me of me and my childhood friends singing it, its a very very typical song
Valerie Pezeron, Arts Editor
Vanessa Paradis: “Emmenez Moi”
French Classic brilliantly covered by Ms Depp. Lyrics: ” Take me away to the end of the world, Take me away in the land of wonders. It seems to me that misery would be less hard in the sun, take me away!” Very fitting but not too obvious.
Briony Warren, Music Contributor
?Neil Young: ‘After the Goldrush’
It was a favourite of my father’s and several Christmas’s ago my he asked for us to sing it for him at a family get together. My three sisters and I practiced it and learnt a few harmonies. My uncle Frank, accompanied us on guitar. Everyone loved it and this song always reminds me of this!It’s a great song with many renditions done over the years by the likes of Thom Yorke, Tori Amos and The Flaming Lips. We also performed it at my Grandmothers funeral, however we changed the lyrics slightly because the song is actually about drug addiction.
Georgie Van Kuyk, Music Contributor
Mariah Carey: All I Want For Christmas
This is the ultimate Christmas song! It reminds me of school discos, wearing horrendous clothes, tinsel, and my beast friend reminded me; you had until the end of this song to find someone to dance the last slow dance with.
Colin McKean, Music Contributor
The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl: ‘Fairytale of New York’
Drunkenness, disillusionment, broken dreams and promises, as well as the threat of domestic violence. What could be more festive?
or… ‘Just Like Christmas’ by Low, which seems to capture both the joy and the introspection of the festive season in pretty much equal measure.
Cari Steel, Music Contributor
Julie London: “Lonely Girl”
Christmas songs always sound like they have had 10lbs of tinsel dumped on them; they are gaudy, overblown, and are the musical equivalent of the torpid state that we find ourselves in after consuming our weight in turkey and Christmas Cake. The antidote to all of this excess is listening to Julie London’s “Lonely Girl”. The mellow, delicious, breathy tones of Julie sets the scene to curl up in front of a fire, clad in nothing but big woolly socks and an oversized jumper while sipping a large brandy and letting the festive overload gently ebb away.
Rachael Oku, Fashion Editor
Have a happppppy Christmas!! xx
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