real[work] - On the selection of Film and Video Programmes

Root Event

4. Werkleitz Biennale real[work]
real[work] - On the selection of Film and Video Programmes
5. 7. to 9. 7. 2000
D 2000

Marcel Schwierin & Florian Wüst
real[work] - On the selection of Film and Video Programmes

The contents orientation of this year’s Werkleitz Biennial makes it obvious, not to restrict itself exclusively to the areas of original artistic works - experimental film and video art, but rather also to take up documentary approaches. The selection chosen by us does not intend to limit itself to the literal topic (somehow falling back on the rich store of film history dealing with industrial labour), but rather presents films and videos, which make possible a new perspective on the complex interrelations between the reality of work and the concept of work.

Three “classic” documentary films - all with apparently value-free, nevertheless precisely observing cameras - describe the conditioning of man to the New World of work:

“Ziele: Die Schulung” from Harun Farocki shows the training of managers (the contemporary hero of work), whose language, mimic and gestures must conform to the fixed canons of convinced optimism.

In “Die Blume der Hausfrau”, Dominik Wessely documents the perhaps only job which is offered in abundance: door-to-door salesman. The services employee, as a prototype of the future work model, lies somewhere between entrepreneurial (sub)-self-employment and serf-like dependency in his relations to the industrial client and King customer.

In “Crazy English”, the teacher Li Yang walks a bizarre tightrope between collective socialism and individualist capitalism, in that he preaches to stadiums full of Chinese using his own creative grammar of global competition.

“Roger & Me” and “The Target Shoots First” are far more subjective in their approach. While the former takes on the perspectives of redundant workers, Wilcha films in the tradition of the experimental diary films, his own working world in the marketing department of the music giant Columbia House. He describes exactly how he unwittingly promotes the development of more effective operating structures and marketing strategies with his creative ideas. Even his critical reflection of this instrumentalisation is ultimately understood as a contribution to corporate culture.

A central element remained for us the question, what film and video art can contribute to the problematic of work. In a conscious way we have chosen a provocative form in the compilation of the titles as well as the descriptions of the individual programmes. The central point for us, is to transform the deadlocked debate into a somewhat more lively one, at least for the period in which the festival is taking place - which sees the transformation of labour not only as a social catastrophe, but also as a chance, to achieve a new relationship to that which is called work in our society, but which is actually merely seen as a paradigm of exploitation.

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Marcel Schwierin & Florian Wüst

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