Parallel I-IV | Chicago Reader

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43 minutes · 2014

Avant-Garde, Experimental
This intriguing cycle of four short essay films, the final work of German experimental filmmaker Harun Farocki, explores the techniques, technologies, and ethical quandaries involved in the creation of moving images for video games. Each of the shorts—which were made between 2012 and 2014 and range from 7 to 16 minutes—tackles a different aspect of the under-seen process by which games are rendered: the evolution of symbolic imagery into realistic graphics, and what that process intimates; the placement of limits, or the lack thereof; the construction of illusions and narrative omnipotence; and the morally fraught relationships between players and their avatars. The shorts consist almost entirely of game footage made between 1980 and the present day, against which an uncredited voice-over narrator waxes philosophical about the impression of digital worlds on the human psyche ("Does the world exist if I'm not watching it?").

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