June 29, 2011–January 2, 2012
Harun Farocki's first solo show at the MOMA has been highlighted with a video installation dealing with the Iraq war.
Although being labeled a "comprehensive exhibition" of his work, the massive Images of War installion dwarfs Farocki's earlier work, a smidgen of which has been lumped into the back corner.
While Images of War clearly shows the subversive nature of Farocki's films, like most films that are clear and understandable, it is not very powerful.
If one takes into consideration the influence his 40 year career has had on society, you might want to huddle in that back corner and find out why Farocki has finally wound up in the MOMA:
Counter Music, 2004, is an attempt to capture the city of Lille using surveillance cameras. That's a good start, but Farocki goes even further by using the technology of surveillance in his filming, this means that he uses surveillance cameras that monitor movement and also heat. He uses the mechanisms that monitor the mass transit system, and monitors their functioning. Counter Music effectively encapsulates the city of Lille in what one could imagine to be a kinetic frame, or through a lens of Liquid Modernity.
Comparison via a Third, 2007, begins by informing the viewer that the brick is the essential building block of every society, but that no two bricks are the same. Then we are transported around the world to see the myriad ways of producing bricks. In Africa, for example, large groups of villagers work together to produce a single brick, whereas in Germany one single person (looking very bored) mans the machinery that produces thousands of bricks. These Individual bricks are then laid in order to create houses. We are shown how different societies lay their bricks, and again certain ways of laying bricks require far more group participation than others. One can obviously extrapolate the metaphorical meaning from all this, but what strikes me as particularly interesting is the fact that in the countries with the most advanced methods of producing bricks, there is the most homelessness. In the developed countries, the "individuality" of each brick is minimized by mass producing them, meaning that uniformity is almost guaranteed even though no two bricks are 100% identical. Now if we look at societies where many people are needed to produce one brick, the people seem to be enjoying themselves and everyone who contributes is guaranteed a house (I wish I could say the same for "developed" countries). Each of us are an individual brick making up our respective societies, if we were not there our societies would not exist. Ironically, some of the oldest bricks that are still in existence are the ones that were produced using those most primitive methods seen in this film.
If you are going to NY and want to see this exhibit, try and get to the MOMA on Fridays when tickets are free and the museum is also open until 20:30 in the evening.