Born 1944, Nový Jicin, Czechoslovakia
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Eye/Machine: I, II, and III are the culmination of a decade spent gathering film
and television footage that records some 60 years of electronic surveillance and
remote-controlled assaults on military targets. Harun Farocki describes this project
as a way of documenting "the industrialization of thought": the development of
technologies and artificial devices that encroach on the activity of the human mind and
senses. In all three Eye/Machines, Farocki employs his characteristic montage aesthetic,
rhythmically filling our field of vision with images and information. He is particularly
interested in the graphic elegance of the aerial bomber's crosshairs and the geometric
clarity of a target seen from the sky—both introduced to the public in footage from the
suicidal cameras on the so-called smart bombs used in the 1991 Gulf War. Documenting this
new way of seeing, the Eye/Machines juxtapose one channel of archival footage with another
of dead-on, deadpan commentary that unfolds with the cool analytical presentation and dry
inexorability of a scientific proof. Farocki's vast catalog of destruction is clinical,
computable, and utterly convincing as a warning against the chilling convergence of
advanced technology and human belligerence. The work's purposeful emotional restraint
underscores the artist's passionate and partisan message.
Aurich, Rolf, and Ulrich Kriest, eds. Der Ärger mit den Bildern—Die Filme von Harun Farocki. Konstanz, Germany: Medien, 1998.
Elsaesser, Thomas. "Working at the Margins: Two or Three Things Not Known about Harun Farocki." Filmbulletin, no. 597 (October 1983): 269–70.
Gaensheimer, Susanne, and Nicholas Schafhausen, eds. Harun Farocki: Imprint/ Writings. New York: Lukas and Sternberg, 2001.
Jahn, Harmut. "Interview with Harun Farocki." Spuren, no. 2 (February–March 1979): 51–53.
Keenan, Thomas. "Light Weapons." Documents, nos. 1–2 (Fall–Winter 1992): 136–46.
Senses of Cinema