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Harun Farocki: Serious Games I-IV

September 17 – December 7, 2014
University Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre
Curator: Dr. Gaelle Morel

Harun Farocki: Serious Games I–IV (2009–10) explores the use of virtual reality and gaming technology in U.S. military recruitment, training and after-action therapy, revealing fundamental links between technology and violence in a time of war. Young recruits engage in simulated combat training, which barely differs from video games produced as entertainment. Footage is included from a workshop demonstrating the use of computer re-enactments in the psychological care of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. As a large-scale installation, Serious Games critically focuses on the role of audiovisual culture in the spectacle of war.

Since the late 1960s, Harun Farocki has created subversive films and videos integrating his own material with footage appropriated from diverse sources, including mass media, security cameras and political propaganda. His critically-lauded essay films, which often address war and technology, examine the production and perception of moving images and their fundamental impact on society.




Event(s):

Opening Reception
Wednesday, January 17
6:00 – 8:00 PM

Exhibition Tour
Doina Popescu
Wednesday, October 22
6:00 PM

Public Talk
Antje Ehmann and Detlef Gericke-Schonhagen
Tuesday, November 11
6:30 PM
Great Hall, Ryerson Image Centre

With support from the Goethe-Institut Toronto

An animated desert with a tank and a soldier
Fig. 1

Harun Farocki, Serious Games II, 2010, still from video installation © Harun Farocki, 2010

Animated still of a military helicopter flying over a desert town
Fig. 2

Harun Farocki, Serious Games II, 2010, still from video installation © Harun Farocki, 2010

Two video stills. On the left, a tank drives down an empty road. On the right, a can of coke with text that reads "small"
Fig. 3

Harun Farocki, Serious Games II, 2010, still from video installation © Harun Farocki, 2010

Two video stills. On the left, a man in military clothing uses a computer. On the right, white text reads "The instructor places explosive devices"
Fig. 4

Harun Farocki, Serious Games II, 2010, still from video installation © Harun Farocki, 2010

Video still of a man in grey speaking to a soldier holding a gun
Fig. 5

Harun Farocki, Serious Games II, 2010, still from video installation © Harun Farocki, 2010

Artist and Curator Bios

Harun Farocki
Artist

Harun Farocki (1944–2014) has made over 100 film and video productions for cinema and television. Since the late 1960s, Farocki’s hybrid film genre has reflected an innovative, experimental and interrogative documentary style. His essay films, which often address war and technology, integrate filmed material with footage appropriated from a range of sources, including mass media, security cameras and political propaganda. Farocki’s significant impact on the visual arts has been celebrated in numerous major exhibitions, including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012; Tate Modern, London, UK in 2009; and the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany in 2001; participation in the 1997 and 2007 editions of documenta, Kassel, Germany; and solo installations and screenings at museums and cinemas throughout the world.

Dr. Gaelle Morel
Curator

Dr. Gaelle Morel is an art historian and Exhibitions Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada. She received her PhD in the History of Contemporary Art from Universite Paris 1 – Pantheon-Sorbonne, France. Her research and recent work deal with the figure of the artist as author in French contemporary photography. She also works on the artistic and cultural recognition of the medium in the United States in the 1930s. She was, until 2013, a member of the board of the Societe francaise de photographie, and a member of the editorial committee of Etudes photographiques, a bilingual peer reviewed journal on the history of photography. She edited Les Derniers Tableaux. Photojournalisme et art contemporain (Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporaines, 2008) and co-wrote with Thierry Gervais La Photographie published by Editions Larousse in France (2008, 2011). She was a recipient of a Terra Foundation for American Art Travel Grant in 2007, for her work on the American art dealer Julien Levy who closely worked with Berenice Abbott in the 1920s and 1930s.

Installation Shots

Two video screens in a dark room with a bench in the middle
Fig. 1

Harun Farocki: Serious Games I-IV (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre

Two video stills in a dark room with a bench in the middle. On the left, a tank driving in the desert. On the right, four soldiers use computers
Fig. 2

Harun Farocki: Serious Games I-IV (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre

Four video screens in a dark room with a bench in the middle
Fig. 3

Harun Farocki: Serious Games I-IV (installation view), 2014 © Eugen Sakhnenko, Ryerson Image Centre

Sponsors

With support from the Goethe-Institut Toronto