Fort bravo on national geographic
I’m not sure what to expect as I head for the last location, Fort Bravo, but instantly upon arrival, I relax. Maybe it’s the classic Western Main Street, with blacksmith, jail, and hotel. Maybe it’s the fully operational saloon with horses loitering out front. The place feels familiar, in the way only a location you haven’t been to before can. There’s a lazy charm to Fort Bravo. It even boasts its own gallows.
The ramshackle set was bought nearly 30 years ago for $6,000 by Rafa Molina, a sandy-haired, easygoing stuntman from Valencia, “to make sure that if a film was going to be shot here, I knew I’d have work.” It is the only one of the three towns that is frequently used as a film set. Broke and out of work in the early ’80s, Molina opened the place as a tourist attraction. He charged 25 pesetas (10 cents) a visit, and let folks wander around the deserted facades and storefronts. A few years later he began to stage espectáculos—mock shoot-outs and barroom brawls. It gave the tourists something to hang around for—and Molina a chance to sell them beer.
The shows are kitschy, but played with an innocence and joy typical of the people I meet here. And they allow my outlaw fantasies free rein. Late in the day, with most everyone gone, with the desert still and the shadows long, I walk slowly down the middle of the street, hands hanging by my sides, wanting to see, maybe, Eli Wallach’s menacing “Tuco” exit through those swinging doors, or Lee Van Cleef’s “Angel Eyes” crouching on that rooftop.
“Parallel” (2012, 17 minutes) is HarunFarocki’s most recent video installation. A video an essay on the status of computer-animated images. ‘If film and photography interrogated the possibility of representing reality, are digitally generated images capable of surpassing “reality” itself?’
“In this new work, Farocki juxtaposes the history of computerbased animation with elements of art history. In only thirty years, computer-generated images and animations have evolved from simple symbolic forms into images that aspire to perfect simulation, and seem to desire to outperform cinematographic and photographic representations, not merely of “static” reality, but increasingly of the dynamic aspects of life, as manifest in gestures or complex movement in general. In appropriating the dynamics of social and natural reality, does computergenerated hyperrealism seek to outdo reality itself?
Today, mimesis has become a matter of generative algorithms, and the resulting technologies are increasingly capable of calculating, predicting, and controlling complex processes—from manufacturing, to war, to emotional experiences in the animated worlds of mass entertainment. Underlying Farocki’s investigation into the frontiers of innovation in current image-technologies is the assumption that increasingly, we live in technologically produced image-worlds in which images have become what he calls “idealtypical.” In the new mimetic paradigm of digital “realism”, reality is no longer the measure of the always imperfect image; instead, the virtual image increasingly becomes the measure of an always-imperfect actuality. With the “ideal-typical” image, representation seeks to overcome lived reality by constructing, monitoring, and governing it. Even fantasy and fiction now tend to assume a predictive and even preventive quality. Does this leave actual, lived reality to exist only as derivation of the ideal, as flaw or impurity, or, like in military or surveillance technologies, as a potential threat? Have these idealtypes become our new normative schemes, all-encompassing idols capable of scripting and predicting all actual life-movement?” (Anselm Franke, 2012)
“Parallel” will be on display, along with other works by Farocki, at Fundación Proa and the Goethe-Institut. “Haron Farocki. Installations. Films” (Fundación Proa, Febraury 2 - March 31 2013) is the first solo exhibition of Farocki in Argentina. The show consists of five video installations produced from 2002 to 2012 and a film series with premiere screenings of his last three productions. The exhibition provides an overview of Farocki’s complex conceptual universe, which revolves around uncovering the ideological processes that the production and reception of images entail.