Visibility Machines Film Program: Overlord

Wednesday, February 5
Visibility Machines Film Program: Overlord
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents a two-night film program curated by Sonja Simonyi in conjunction with the exhibition Visibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen. For this evening, Harun Farocki has chosen Overlord (Stuart Cooper, 1975, United Kingdom, b&w, 95 minutes, 35mm) and Inextinguishable Fire (Harun Farocki, 1969, b&w, 21 mins, digital transfer of 16mm).

The 1975 film Overlord places warfare in a fictional framework, evoking questions on the different ways in which archival footage can be incorporated into new filmic material to provide a thoughtful reconstruction of war. While Farocki does not approach the theme of war in a narrative context, issues relating to the visual representation of military strikes, and the formal strategies employed to construct such images, provide useful links to Farocki’s filmmaking as well. Meticulously researched, and using carefully selected footage from the film archives of the Imperial War Museum in Great Britain, Overlord follows a young soldier’s experiences of the Allied Forces’ D-Day invasion of Normandy during the Second World War. The striking aesthetic quality of the film was achieved by matching the archival material with live-action scenes shot with period lenses and stock footage from the 1930s. Overlord will be preceded by Farocki’s seminal essay-film Inextinguishable Fire, which powerfully dissects the connections between napalm bombings during the Vietnam War and diverging corporate and industrial interests that lie at the basis of the chemical’s destructive use by the US Army. As Farocki suggests, links between production, labor, and the ultimate implementation of a given product in warfare have been successfully separated and obfuscated in contemporary capitalist society.

This screening is presented in association with the Center for Advance Media Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and will be held at JHU’s Shriver Hall, 3400 N. Charles Street in Baltimore City. Admission is free.

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