Videograms of a Revolution

Harun Farocki


    In Europe in the fall of 1989, history took place before our very eyes. Farocki and Ujica’s Videograms shows the Rumanian revolution of December 1989 in Bucharest in a new media-based form of historiography. Demonstrators occupied the television station [in Bucharest] and broadcast continuously for 120 hours, thereby establishing the television studio as a new historical site. Between December 21, 1989 (the day of Ceaucescu’s last speech) and December 26, 1989 (the first televised summary of his trial), the cameras recorded events at the most important locations in Bucharest, almost without exception.

    “The determining medium of an era has always marked history, quite unambiguously so in that of modern Europe. It was influenced by theater, from Shakespeare to Schiller, and later on by literature, until Tolstoy. As we know, the 20th century is filmic. But only the videocamera, with its heightened possibilities in terms of recording time and mobility, can bring the process of filming history to completion. Provided, of course, that there is history”. (Andrei Ujica)

    Harun Farocki conceived of and assembled Videograms of a Revolutiontogether with Andrei Ujica. Ujica, who was born in Timisoara in 1951, is a Rumanian writer who has been living in Germany since 1981, where he is a lecturer in literature and media theory. He has good connections to Rumanian friends and colleagues who not only opened up the television archives to the authors but also enabled them to get in contact with cameramen from state film studios and with numerous amateur videographers who had documented the events on the streets of Bucharest, often from the roofs of highrise buildings. “If at the outbreak of the uprising only one camera dared to record,” said Farocki, “hundreds were in operation on the following day.”

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    January 9, 1944 — born in Nový Jicin (Neutitschein), at that time Sudetengau, today Czech Republic.

    1966 – 1968 Admission to the just opened Berlin Film Adacemy, DFFB.

    1966 — Marriage with Ursula Lefkes.

    1968 — Birth of the daughters Annabel Lee and Larissa Lu.

    1974 – 1984 Author and editor of the magazine Filmkritik , Munich.

    1998 – 1999 Speaking about Godard / Von Godard sprechen, New York / Berlin. (Together with Kaja Silverman).

    1993 – 1999 Visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

    2001 — Marriage with Antje Ehmann.

    Since 1966 — more than 100 productions for Television or Cinema: Children’s TV, Documentary Films, Essay Films, Story Films.

    Since 1996  — various solo- and group exhibitions in Museums and Galleries. 2007 with Deep Play participation at documenta 12.

    Since 2004  — Visiting Professor, 2006 – 2011 full Professorship at the Academy of Art, Vienna.

    2011 – 2014 — longterm project Labour in a Single Shot, together with Antje Ehmann.

    July 30, 2014 — died near Berlin.