Words and Games

The new production plants for the daily chat- and game shows are on the periphery; in the case of Unterföhring near Munich on the extension to the Bahnhofstraße named Medienallee (Media Avenue). This industry is so new, that it cannot as yet reliably predict costs and extra costs, profits and extra profits; its most important raw material is the ordinary, everyday person. They are cheap and they want to make an appearance, but are they worth showing?

The ordinary people follow the call, which goes out via teletext, and after preliminary screening they are received by droves of producers and assistants. The assistants are of student age. They explain the rules of the game, help practice entrance and exits, they enquire into and repeat life histories. It is their task to refine the daily inflow of the masses and with angelic sensitivity, to try and instill a little decorativeness. A few years ago they would have been found in the healing or caring professions. Nowadays they teach people how to wave to the camera and how to package the most commonplace experiences in clear, readymade sentences.

They give out sandwiches and alleviate fear. The same thing happens in documentaries and chat-and-game-shows are just the industrial form of the documentary's production concept. If cinema produced dreams then this kind of television produces daydreams. The kind people used to indulge in when leaning out of the window, leaning on a cushion and looking out at the yard or the alley.

Undefined feelings rose and fell, leaving behind them a vague desire for repetition, like a magic charm which cannot be spoken yet still reverberates… These are the creeping flows of consciousness. They can hardly be measured, or perhaps we don't yet have the apparatus to do so. Will all this commoditization help to detect these daydreams?

(Harun Farocki)

Original title Worte und Spiele Director, scriptwriter Harun Farocki Cinematographer Ingo Kratisch, Rosa Mercedes, Ludger Blanke Editor Max Reimann Light design Leo Lumen Technicians Horst Brams, Anna Faroqhi Sound Ludger Blanke, Sylvia Mittelstädt, Rolf Merker Music Markus Spies after Johannes Brahms, Opus 121 Denn es geht dem Menschen wie dem ViehCollaboration, researcher Ludger Blanke Production Harun Farocki Filmproduktion, Berlin TV-producer Bernd Michael Fincke Format video-BetaSP, col., 1:1,37 Length 68 min.