German filmmaker and artist Harun Farocki has passed away at the age of seventy. Galerie Ropac, who has represented Farocki since 2007, confirmed the news.
Farocki studied at the German Academy of Film and Television from 1966 to 1968 and acted as editor of Munich-based film journal Filmkritik from 1974 to 1984. He then moved to California to teach at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1990s. Much of his output—he made some ninety films over his life—deals with the structure of the military and media. His 2010 Serious Games 1, Watson Is Down, for example, looked specifically at training programs via computer animation, gesturing at the ways such games could act as a leading kind of image. “One can open fire on those taking part in the exercise, and they can fire back,” said Farocki. “The firing range of weapons is equivalent to the corresponding distance in reality. Such features apparently compensate for the lack of photorealistic representation. A computer animation is not just a likeness but also a data-gadget that makes the fastest possible calculations—and visualizes them immediately.” Over his lifetime Farocki showed at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Hamburger Bahnhof, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Museum Ludwig, and the Tate Modern.