Industry and Photography

Farocki frequently chooses a single news photo as his pretext. In his film he explains convincingly that 'learning from images' is not so much a question of having power over the image or a consistent subject-position towards the image, which would allow the filmmaker access to complete knowledge. Instead he insists on pursuing photography's separation of reference and discourse, by proving this to be a separation of the subject as well as a separation within the subject itself.

The modern notion of representation, at least that which we owe to cinema, is based on iconicity, similarity and probability. Moreover, it links what is represented to the perceiving subject in an act of opposition, even of confrontation and defines existence as being the process by which one places oneself in relationship to something other, as a form of taking up position, of approach. As a result, the corresponding concept of perception is based on the capacity of images to establish, demarcate and validate a space in which the mise-en scène of a subject can take place.

Farocki doesn't achieve this insight by means of psychoanalytical vocabulary; he contrasts the subject with his own radical 'other'.

(Thomas Elsaesser)

Original title Industrie und Fotografie Director, scriptwriter Harun Farocki Cinematographer Ingo Kratisch, Rosa Mercedes, Rolf Silber Editor Hella Vietzke Music Tony Conrad and Faust Narrator Christhart Burgmann Production manager Hans-Dieter Müller Production Harun Farocki Filmproduktion, Berlin-West, for WDR, Cologne Producer Guenther Weinhold TV-producer Werner Dütsch Format 35 mm., b/w, 1:1,37 Length: 44 min. First broadcast 01.03.1979, West 3