chapter  1
The Medium Interface
Pages 42

Georges, the host of a highbrow literary talk show, receives suspicious videotapes that display the peaceful façade of his upper-middle-class house. It is not clear from the CCTV-like footage, in which nothing ostensibly happens, who has been watching his family and why. Subsequent tapes, however, lead Georges fi rst to his provincial childhood home and then to an unknown suburban apartment, which turns out to be the dingy living space of his adopted, then abandoned, Algerian brother, Majid. This forgotten ‘other’ confronts Georges with an uncomfortable truth from the past: young Georges’s jealousy forced Majid to be sent off to an orphanage, whereafter Majid had to survive without the educational and social benefi ts given to Georges. The nature of the video thus changes from provocation to evocation, from surveillance to reminiscence. Michael Haneke’s Caché [Hidden] (2005) uncannily uncovers this hidden trauma that resurfaces in the present. But my primary question is simple: Why video? That is, why interface?