Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades)

Harun Farocki

Nový Jicín, Czech Republic, 1944 - Berlin, Germany, 2014
  • Date: 
  • Edition/serial number: 
    1/5 + 1 A.P.
  • Media description: 
    Twelve-channel video (b/w and colour, sound and silent, different duration)
  • Category: 
    Installation, Video
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • Image credit: 
    © Harun Farocki Filmproduktion

The Lumière Brothers’ famous La sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon (1895) is the point of departure for an in-depth look at the way that film history has dealt with the subject of workers leaving a factory, from the birth of cinema until the year 2000, eleven decades later. In Harun Farocki’s eyes, a fascination with recording movement is what brought the first camera in history to film workers pouring out of a factory, all organised and lined up artificially by the film director. Although industrialised order had been committed to the synchronisation of the subject since long before the advent of cinema.
After painstaking archaeological research of countless amounts of film stock, Farocki chose twelve films, which he cut up and reduced to that single moment in order to show them juxtaposed chronologically on twelve TV monitors. In doing so, he translated traditional film montage to a physical space, where it goes a step further and becomes a simultaneous installation, creating an accumulative kaleidoscopic effect. Through this multi-channel film, Farocki contemplates the organisation of life in an industrialised society, while meditating on cinema as a means of constructing its representations.

Lola Hinojosa