Greene Naftali is pleased to announce its third solo exhibition by German filmmaker and artist Harun Farocki.
For over 40 years, Farocki mined the fields of film and digital images, drawing out their impact on the history of cinema and on our social and political consciousness. His characteristic film essays have taken as their subject a variety of global themes, including the perfunctory act of employees leaving their work places at the end of their shifts, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and the US Military’s use of computerized simulation. Consistent throughout these works is an underlying interest in the various uses of visual technology and its sociopolitical impact.
For this exhibition, Greene Naftali presents his final work: Parallel 1-1V (2012-14), a new four-part video installation that traces computer graphics from its early stages—when horizontal and vertical lines were used to denote people and objects—to its current state of hyper-mimesis. Screened simultaneously on four different screens, each video focuses on different aspects of the video game genre and its rapid technological progression over a short span of 30 years.
Parallel I tracks a trajectory from early popular video games—Mystery House (1980), Pitfall (1982), and King’s Quest (1984)—to its current, more advanced versions where symbols on the screen are barely distinguishable from the reality they attempt to portray. Parallel II explores the subject of boundaries— how animated games conceive of space and their seeming limitless borders. Parallel III concentrates on the illusion of reality produced in game play, and Parallel IV approaches the topic of subjects, and how characters superficially navigate relationships between one another in these simulated worlds. Interspersing computer-generated material with footage of real programmers at work, Farocki illustrates the shifting dynamic between real and virtual worlds, and the changing status of the image from one focused on reproduction, to one focused on construction.
Also on view is Ein Bild [An Image], Farocki’s 1983 Direct Cinema film that documents the meticulous process of creating a centerfold for German Playboy. Here Farocki steadies his gaze on the highly constructed environment—documenting set hands, cameramen, directors, and model all at once. Turning the camera back onto the image-makers themselves, Farocki’s descriptive lens captures the scene and its many subjects, providing an overview rather than a prescriptive narrative. In this scene, the model is not the only person on display.