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Extra resources for Harun Farocki: Working the Sight-lines
For not everyone has the inner distance to risk the concept of such a film. And this, despite the fact that Farocki’s method in this instance is that of a rather traditional artistic realism: whoever wishes to learn something about a society has to turn to what is self-evident. For what is put under the spotlight rarely reveals anything. The ‘insignificantly’ self-evident on the other hand, blown up on the big screen in the cinema, out of all human proportion, can truly express the grotesque aspects of what is being acted out.
50 Harun Farocki Becoming Interchangeable The tendency to treat his own images as if they were ‘found’ footage, which already characterised Farocki’s essay films As you See and Images of the World was logically extended in Leben – BRD (How to Live in the FRG, 1989). The film gives an early indication that Farocki would soon abandon altogether shooting his own material in order to work solely with ready-made shots. Footage that is seemingly author-less but was in fact carefully researched and ‘found’, proves that Farocki’s assistant, Michael Trabitzsch, is responsible for an increasing input in the final product.
Anna is not officially reported as 46 Harun Farocki missing, and Baumann can keep her death a secret. He persuades Anna’s sister Edith to play the part of Anna, although neither her personality nor her appearance resembles Anna’s (except for the long blond hair). Edith enters into the game not only out of sympathy for Baumann, but because it also improves her social status (see ill. 34). Just as the voyeur is inclined to stare, to fixate, and finally to hallucinate, that is, to see more than is actually there, thus representing one extreme of visual perversion (seeing too much), the couple Jens and Edith in the second part of the film are able to exploit another pervasive form of perverted seeing for their own game of deception: merely scanning the surface the eye that no longer sees properly (seeing too little).