Eye/Machine I, II + III

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Eye/Machine I, II + III


Sunday Jan 07 02:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


About the Film:

This screening is part of the weeklong program CLASSIFIED, a multidisciplinary look at art and surveillance.

Directed by Harun Farocki. 2001. 2002. 2003. Germany. English. 65 min.

Admission: Free with RSVP 

Harun Farocki utilizes a vast collection of image sequences from laboratories, archives and production facilities to explore modern weapons technology. This trilogy examines "intelligent" image processing techniques such as electronic surveillance, mapping and object recognition. Images that were never meant to be seen by the human eye allow us a closer look at the relationship between man, machine, and modern warfare. 

Eye/Machine I
Directed by Harun Farocki. 2001. Germany. English. 25 min.
The film centers on the images of the Gulf War, which caused worldwide outrage in 1991. In the shots taken from projectiles homing in on their targets, bomb and reporter were identical, according to a theory put forward by the philosopher Klaus Theweleit. At the same time it was impossible to distinguish between the photographed and the (computer) simulated images. The loss of the 'genuine picture' means the eye no longer has a role as historical witness. It has been said that what was brought into play in the Gulf War was not new weaponry, but rather a new policy on images. In this way the basis for electronic warfare was created. Today, kilo tonnage and penetration are less important than the so-called C3I cycle, which has come to encircle our world. C3I refers to Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence--and means global and tactical early warning systems, area surveillance through seismic, acoustic and radar sensors, radio direction sounding, monitoring opponents' communications, as well as the use of jamming to suppress all these techniques. Harun Farocki explores the question of how military image technologies find their way into civilian life.

Eye/Machine II
Directed by Harun Farocki. 2002. Germany. English. 15 min.
How can the distinction between "man" and "machine" still be made given today's technology? In modern weapons technology the categories are on the move: intelligence is no longer limited to humans. In Eye/Machine II, Farocki has brought together visual material from both military and civilian sectors, showing machines operating intelligently and what it is they see when working on the basis of image processing programs. The traditional man-machine distinction becomes reduced to "eye/machine", where cameras are implanted into the machines as eyes. As a result of the Gulf War, the technology of warfare came to provide an innovative impulse, which boosted the development of civilian production. Farocki shows us computer simulated images looking like something out of science-fiction films: rockets steer towards islands set in a shining sea; apartment blocks are blown up; fighter aircraft fire at one another with rockets and defend themselves with virtual flares… These computer battlefields--will they suffice or shall we need further rationalization drives for new wars? Eye/Machine II is the continuation of a wider examination of the same subject: intelligent machines and intelligent weapons. As an installation, the work is presented on two monitors or as a double projection. In this, the single-channel version, the two image tracks are shown simultaneously on one screen. (Antje Ehmann)

Eye/Machine III
Directed by Harun Farocki. 2003. Germany. English. 25 min.
The third part of the Eye/Machine cycle structures the material around the concept of the operational image. These are images which do not portray a process, but are themselves part of a process. As early as the Eighties, cruise missiles used a stored image of a real landscape, then took an actual image during flight; the software compared the two images, resulting in a comparison between idea and reality, a confrontation between pure war and the impurity of the actual. This confrontation is also a montage, and montage is always about similarity and difference. Many operational images show colored guidance lines, intended to portray the process of recognition. The lines tell us emphatically what is all-important in these images, and just as emphatically what is of no importance at all. Superfluous reality is denied--a constant denial provoking opposition. (Harun Farocki)

Who is Harun Farocki?  

Read The New York Times review of Farocki's MoMA installation, "Unfiltered Images, Turning Perceptions Upside Down."

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