Smart phones, search engines, online shopping and social networks have become essential to our everyday lives. The impact that our deep emotional relationship to electronic media has on how we spend our time at home and in the workplace is explored in Fast-Paced Planet with a selection of historical industrial and documentary films. Thomas Imbach’s Well Done examines computerized office work in a large-scale Swiss financial services company and the serial logic of the system that is ingrained in employees’ bodies and language. The data centre dictates the tempo that must be maintained in order to prevent a collapse. The Telefunken company’s film Sieben Briefe pro Sekunde [Seven Letters per Second] from the year 1961 shows how the postal system was modernized through the introduction of automatic sorting machines. A single error would bring the high-velocity machines to a halt. A machine-like routine of human activity is depicted in Jürgen Böttcher’s Rangierer [Shunter]. While the information received via a telex machine reveals the working processes in the Dresden-Friedrichstadt railyard to be part of a highly advanced system, the methodicalness of the workers’ movements belies the immense time pressure exerted by the modern organization of labour. In Well Done it is the ironic remarks, facial expressions and pauses that interrupt the Kafkaesque vision of a completely digitalized world and unveil a human-machine relationship that will never allow itself to be completely planned and exploited.
curated by Florian Wüst