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Harun Farocki and the Notion of "Einfühlung"

Jul 4, 14:30-19:00, 2016

In the short yet compelling text Einfühlung (2008), Harun Farocki questions the relation between distance and identification from the point of view of both the film actor and the spectator. Right at the start of the text, the German filmmaker emphasizes that the term Einfühlung has been "handed over to the enemy". Who is this enemy? And what is the context within which the German filmmaker positions this complex and ambiguous concept? Is "empathy" - the term most commonly used to translate Einfühlung - even strictly equivalent to the German term?

Over the past decades, many studies have been published on the topic of empathy across a range of disciplines. Yet the debate on this topic is not limited to academic contexts: to react empathically is almost considered a social duty, amplified by the possibilities enabled by new media which allow for immediate contact with stories and experiences of distant people practically simultaneously. The general trend is arguably that of focusing on a supposed fusional relation between subject and object, without taking into account the distance and conflict implicit in sensing the other. Focussing on Farocki’s manifold research relating to the topic of Einfühlung, the workshop seeks to explore these issues, as well as the cinematic techniques/devices used to tackle them.

Michael Baute
Robin Curtis
Toni Hildebrandt
Giovanni Tusa

Programme (PDF)
Part I

Screening of Excerpts from Farocki’s works

Introduction by Clio Nicastro

Robin Curtis: Empathy vs. Einfühlung. Modalities of Compassion and Alignment

Michael Baute: Einfühlen|Compare


Coffee break

Part II

Giovanni Tusa: "Die Gegenpartei". On Film and Empathy

Toni Hildebrandt: "To Profane the Unprofanable". On the Moral Discourse in Images of Care


Final Discussion

Time: Mo 4 July 2016, 14:30 – 19:00
Venue: ICI Berlin
In English

Organised by Clio Nicastro
With generous support of DAAD

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