Programming the Visible: Harun Farocki at Paco das Artes

“Paco das Artes is pleased to present the exhibition Programming the Visible, curated by Jane de Almeida, with six works by the artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki: Parallel I-IV (2012-2014), Interface (1995), and the interview Catch Phrases – Catch Images, A Conversation with Vilém Flusser (1986).

The exhibition aims to reflect on the nature of 21st century images, exploring the displacement of the images captured by optical devices to computer-generated imagery. The latest works by Farocki, Parallel I-IV, address the images of computer games, investigating their relationship with the ‘first person’, and reality as an ‘absent referent’ constructed by algorithms. When questioning these new images, Farocki not only rescues the reflection on the invention of perspective in the construction of the Renaissance universe, but also the debate on photography as a medium that liberates painting from the search of likeness. He asks if computers will perform functions previously assumed by film which, in turn, will be free for other functions. He also says that the creators of computer-generated images do not want to attract a ‘bunch of Greek birds’, referring to Zeuxis and the derision of the grapes, but instead to produce the creatures that will inhabit their paradise.

Harun Farocki is an artist and filmmaker internationally recognized for his radical political readings of the images of the world. Having made films inspired by Brecht and Godard, as well as being recognized for his film-essays, Farocki in recent years focused his work within the universe of contemporary art, making several film-installations. Farocki also created collaborative works for public spaces, workshops, edited and produced films, and wrote intellectual and critical works about the politics of image.
After 2007, the simulations and images generated by computers were questioned by Farocki. This is the focal point of the exhibition Programming the Visible. However, to put into perspective the issues that are now being directed at the images generated by algorithms, two previous works by the artist will be presented: Interface (1995) and Catch Phrases – Catch Images. A conversation with Vilém Flusser (1986).

In the first work, Farocki examines his own gesture of making films from existing images, without producing new ones. This work marks the passage of the artist into the world of art institutions. The second work is an interview by Farocki in which he asks the philosopher to analyze the images, words, and fonts of the German tabloid Bild Zeitung. Flusser’s books about photography and technical images have influenced numerous works by the artist. These last two works dialogue with the recent works by Farocki, demonstrating his persuasive way of questioning the images until the limit, regarding the medium through which they are produced.

‘Harun Farocki is not seduced by the new image, produced by contemporary media, nor is he dominated by the fetish of the images produced by the old media. With his works, the parallel universes of computer games encounter the parallel histories of the images and their compositions’ affirms Jane de Almeida.

Acording to Priscila Arantes, Paco das Artes director and curator ‘it is a privilege to receive the exhibition with works by Harun Farocki, an artist that reverberates issues of the contemporary world in his works with a reflective look’.

A selection of films from his extensive production will be presented at CINUSP (Cinema da USP) from February, 1-21 and a book with articles about Harun Farocki works will also be published in partnership with CINUSP, in conjunction with the exhibition.

Paco das Artes”