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How shall I name what I am missing? (Wie soll man das nennen, was ich vermisse?) is the title of a text that Harun Farocki wrote for “Search Images: Visual Culture between Algorithms and Archives” (ed. Wolfgang Ernst, Stefan Heidenreich, and Ute Holl), a book published in conjunction with the symposium “Search Images: Toward an Image Archive of Filmic Topoi,” held at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin in February 2001.
What Farocki felt he was missing was an image archive of filmic topoi or a history of filmic motifs, to be compiled within the medium of film itself. Over the course of many years, pursuing multiple strands of film history, he composed a number of entries for such an imaginary encyclopedia: Workers Leaving the Factory (1996); The Expression of Hands (1997); Prison Images (2000); Feasting or Flying (with Antje Ehmann, 2008); and War Tropes (with Antje Ehmann, 2011). Harun Farocki can no longer continue this filmographic project himself. This is one of the many things we now mourn and ourselves deeply miss. We have conceived an approach to the motif of doors in film history as an addition to the encyclopedia that we feel Harun would have approved with enthusiasm. We found ourselves tempted to apply Harun’s method to his own work, which supplied us with many examples of doors in film, as well as with frequent references to linked motifs: the threshold, the factory gate, separation/connection, incarceration/liberation. Thus we began to index and edit all the door scenes in Harun’s work and to research the door motif generally. It quickly became clear that we could not pretend to make a Harun-film without Harun. Instead, we found ourselves writing something like a love letter to Harun – hoping meanwhile to open some doors in the process.
(Antje Ehmann, Jan Ralske)
Antje Ehmann, born in 1968 in Gelsenkirchen, is an author, curator, and video artist who lives and works in Berlin.
Jan Ralske, born in 1959 in the USA, is an artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Berlin.
Format: 2-channel video installation
Running time: 12 min