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Harun Farocki: Deep Play

Consider the connections between media, technology, and sport that surround us in the world today.

An estimated 1.5 billion television viewers worldwide watched the FIFA World Cup Final soccer match between France and Italy that was held in Berlin's Olympic Stadium in 2006. Artist Harun Farocki combined recorded television footage, his own video recordings, surveillance video, schematic diagrams, and real-time 2D and 3D animation to create Deep Play, a monumental 12-channel video installation that immerses the viewer inside humanity's largest sporting spectacle.

Deep Play has taken on an even more poignant light in the aftermath of the 2010 World Cup Final, where audiences were able to experience soccer through new forms of digital media like never before. Farocki’s critically acclaimed artwork presents an exacting portrait of how sport has been shaped and transformed by contemporary mass media and new technology.

Described by Thomas Elsaesser as cinema’s “most illustrious artist-archeologist,” Berlin-based artist-filmmaker Harun Farocki has been a pioneer in the field of documentary art—though he is still relatively unknown in North America. Through his many vivid portraits of modern institutions and organizations such as shopping malls, factories, prisons, corporations, military and cinematic companies, Farocki’s large body of work regularly returns to the history of moving images and the electronic control technologies that shape contemporary society.

About the Artist

Harun Farocki (b. 1944) has made close to 90 films, including feature films, essay films, and documentaries. His media installation artworks have been presented in galleries and museums around the world, including recent solo exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Norway, Museum of Modern Art Vienna, and Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University, Montreal, and Raven Row, London.

Image credit: Installation image of Deep Play by Harun Farocki in Surrey Art Gallery. Photo by Scott Massey.