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Schlagworte — Schlagbilder (1986)

In the spring of 1986, Harun Farocki and Vilém Flusser meet in a café in Westberlin and discuss the design of the title page of the German tabloid BILD.1)


The conversation centres on Flusser’s interpretation of the chosen text, typography and images, particularly the effect emerging from the interpenetration of these elements. The titlepage is conceived as a global image: it is impossible to read the text without getting caught up in the strong pull of the imagery; at the same time the typographical design of juxtaposing white lettering against black background creates a brutal and magical visual atmosphere. Both, images and text, conspire to orchestrate this sensationalist mode of communication. However, recursivley turning to the format in which their conversation takes place, Flusser contests the apparently transcendental mode of critique of BILD’s demagogy, appealing beyond the fourth wall to his audience to appropriate the same critical scrutiny on the magicisation of television which Flusser and Farocki themselves are enmeshed in.


“Man sagt doch noch gewöhnlich, dass entweder das Bild dazu da ist, einen Text zu illustrieren, oder aber umgekehrt ein Text dazu da ist, das Bild zu erklären. Aber auf dieser Seite sieht man deutlich, wie gegenwärtig die beiden Kommunikationsarten beginnen einander zu durchdringen. Der Text funktioniert in Funktion des Bildes und das Bild in Funktion des Textes und beide setzen einander in Schach.” 00:01:40
It is still usually said that either the picture is there to illustrate a text or, conversely, a text is there to explain the picture. But on this page you can clearly see how the two types of communication are currently beginning to interpenetrate each other. The text functions as a function of the image and the image functions as a function of the text, and the two put each other in check.
“Wir sollten jetzt an den Zuschauer der Television appellieren und sagen: Wende diese kritische Fähigkeit, der wir das Wort sprechen, gegen uns selbst.” 00:12:18
We should now appeal to the viewer of Television and say: turn this critical faculty to which we speak out against ourselves.

technical information

Title: Schlagworte - Schlagbilder. Ein Gespräch mit Vilém Flusser [Catch Phrases – Catch Images. A Conversation with Vilém Flusser]
Method: interview
Location: Berlin, Germany
Date (created): [tag:1986|1986]]
Date (published): 1986-05-01
Production: WDR, Cologne
Medium: video
Filmed by: Farocki, Harun
Length: 00:12:30
Language: German (de)
VFA Video Index: VHS_MP_012, VHS_MP_012a
Source: Harun Farocki GbR



Harun Farocki, Schlagworte – Schlagbilder. Ein Gespräch mit Vilém Flusser, Köln 1986 (WDR, Redaktion: Werner Dütsch, Erstsendung: 1. Mai 1986, 12min30s)



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schlagworte_schlagbilder.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 by