Factory Trouble

The programmed documentaries, essay-films and fictions develop inventive experiments with this frustration. In this sense the intention of this programme is not to confirm the powerlessness of cinema in regards to the realities of the factory. It is neither to simply denounce cinema’s ignominious connivance with the social order; a connivance eloquently phrased by Godard in his maxim ‘the exploiter doesn’t show the exploitation of the exploited’. Differently the programmed films make operational their thwarted relation to the factory, manufacturing singular articulations of dissent. These films visualize the capacity of cinema to intervene in how the factory (re)figures today. By looking at the singularity of these articulations, this programme provides a forum to discuss the contemporaneity of the cinema-factory pair and to re-think the sense(s) of cinema’s efficacy.


With Kodwo Eshun

Arbeiter Verlassen die Fabrik (Workers Leaving The Factory, 1995) by Harun Farocki

‘Workers Leaving the Factory’ was the title of the first cinema film ever shown in public. These inaugural 45 seconds show workers leaving the photographic products factory in Lyon owned by the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière. Only at the gates of the factory, in the ephemeral moment of departing, are the workers visible as a workforce. This paradox is at the core of Farocki’s visual re-working of the history of cinema.


British Sounds (1969), by the Dziga Vertov Group

Workers discuss workplace relations, students at Essex University make up posters, Maoism, The Beatles, multiple soundtracks, a point zero of cinema style, excerpts from Richard Nixon, Georges Pompidou, and The Communist Manifesto. Finally, a fist punches through a Union Jack. The film was made for (and then banned from) London Weekend Television.