Programmed by Federico Rossin
Industry and photography are linked, and reproduction connects them. But what do we see, over time, with mechanisation and the arrival of modern industrial production, increasingly hidden behind company walls? Does photography, which includes cinematographic shots, allow us to see the work, the ongoing processes, the production rather than the product? Industry and photography raise the question of what’s visible, and how they are interpreted by the human gaze.
The year after he made his first feature-length fiction “Zwischen zwei Kriegen” [Between Two Wars] in 1978, Harun Farocki returned to examine the economic and political issues of the iron and steel industry in Germany’s history. “Industrie und Fotografie” is a dense, multi-layered film about the industry’s invisibility as such and also an implacable critique of the ideology of the objectivity of representation and the transparency of images, including those of the art market (Bernd & Hilla Becher’s typologies). This film is a historical contemplation of the end of industrial modernity, a political reflection on the opacity of reality in front of a mechanical lens, and a theoretical proposal for visual thinking that tries to dig deeper into the “divergences of the visible” and to “relativise them” (Raymond Bellour) instead of filling them in, as the media does, reassuring yet blinding us.
Cinema historian, independent programmer