Labour in a Single Shot. A project by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki

ms1 , 36 Więckowskiego St
4th October  – 17th November 2013

Why are some kinds of labour visible to us while other remain concealed? What are the relations between global production conditions and labour in specific locations? What cinematic tools can be used to capture production processes when we talk about services, creative sector or knowledge-based labour?

The exhibition presents short films created during workshops conducted by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki in Łódź and fourteen other cities in different parts of the world. The authors deal with the subject of labour trying to answer questions related to the opportunities and limitations of representationof various kinds of production.

For Ehmann and Farocki, the project’s curators, the issues related to the transformations of labour are possible to capture only from a global perspective. Labour concerns everyone: not only workers but also citizens and consumers living in a globalised economic system. Production processes create social relations: emancipate or enslave, upgrade or degrade. They are a tool of biopolitics, which means that any form of life can be productive. That is why the issue of labour is a source of conflicts and the field of political battle. Labour is also an important subject for the media at international level. The problem is that mainstream media most frequently show the influence of labour on economic development, concentrating on its efficiency or on the lack of employment. Behind Ehmann and Farocki’s project there is doubt if the media representations of labour accurately depict the most important issues: the process and the conditions of labour.

While conducting the workshops with beginner filmmakers from all over the world, Ehmann and Farocki set strict formal criteria for the participants – one shot of maximum two minutes. Resigning from the editing, the authors had to capture the specifics of the process of the kind of labour they chose in the right moment. The films, representing different kinds of activities, will be supplemented with film variations connected with one of the first films in the history of cinema La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving theLumière Factory) by the Lumière brothers which shows the moment of finishing work.

Muzeum Sztuki will present films from Bangalore, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv and the ones created during workshops conducted by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki in May 2013 at Łódź Film School. Apart from the above-mentioned cities, the artists conduct similar workshops and exhibitions in Geneva, Hanoi, Lisbon, Boston, Mexico City. They are also planning to organize workshops in China and South Africa. 

Each exhibition within the Labour in a Single Shot project is accompanied by pictograms designed by Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann. Based on the data about the number of inhabitatnts, the level of employment, the character of local production, the level of average salary, the artists prepare graphic commentary summarising the characteristics of a given city and the type of social changes now determining the direction of its development.

The information about the cities in which the workshops have been conducted is analused and gathered at the project’s website. The website also contains videos from the workshops as well as reviews and interviews with Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki. 

Antje Ehmann – a film theoretician, curator. She lives and works in Berlin. The projects she has worked on include: Harun Farocki for the  First Time in Warsaw at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle (2012), The Image in Question. War – Media – Art in Cambridge (2010) and Harun Farocki. 22 films 1968-2009 (with Stuart Comer and Kodwo Eshun) at Tate Modern in London (2009). Her published work includes: Harun Farocki for the First Time in Warsaw (with Artur Liebhart), Amos Gitai. News from Home (with the participation of Katharina Fichtner, Anselm Franke) and Geschichte des Dokumentarischen Films in Deutschland, Vol. 2, Weimarer Republik (with the participation of Janpaul Goergen and Klaus Kreimeier).

Harun Farocki – an outstanding author of documentaries, feature films, film essays, videos and video-installations, an art critic and media theoretician. One of the most important personalities in the post-war history of political cinema in Europe. In his works Farocki examines social functioning of images in the context of various ideologies, the development of technological tools and economy. He is the author of over 120 films and film installations, including:Inextinguishable Fire (1969), Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988), Videograms of a Revolution (1992), Interface (1995), Workers Leaving the Factory (1995), Prison Images (2000), War at a Distance (2003), On Construction of Griffith' Films (2006), Deep Play (2007), Respite (2007), In Comparison (2008), Serious Games (2009-2010), War Tropes (with Antje Ehmann, 2011), Parallel (2012), A New Product (2012). From 1974 to 1984 he was the editor of Filmkritik. He also worked as visiting professor at the Universities at Berkley, Harvard and Vienna. The evidence of the significant influence of Farocki’s work on visual arts are numerous retrospective exhibitions at, among others, Tate Modern in London, individual exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, Jeu de Paume in Paris. The artist has also participated in many group exhibitions including Documenta in Kassel (1997 and 2007).    


Łódź: Aleksandra Chciuk, The Tram Dome, 2013; Aleksandra Chciuk, Sirens, 2013; Filip Gabriel Pudlo, Automotive, 2013; Monika Maslon, Kitchen, 2013; Aleksandra Hirszfeld, This is not an easy Stuff, 2013; Pawel Fabjanski, Dentist, 2013. 

Bangalore: Shrikar Marur, Kinshuk Surfan, Gautam Vishwanath, Cart Avenue, 2012; Pooja Gupta, Sindhu Thirumalaisamy, Shoe Shop, 2012; Suresh Kumar Gopalreddy, Ox, 2012; Nehar Shrestha, Drum, 2012; Verena Buttman, Vijaya K. Seethappa, Cat and Meat, 2012; Nikhil Patil, Arav Narang, Watercan Delivery, 2012.

Berlin:  Achim Burat, Male Nurse, 2012; susanne Dzeik, Notary’s Office, 2012; Zara Zandieh, Under Construction, 2012; Katja Henssler, Gabor Ehlers, Messenger, 2012; Antje Freitag, Pet Crematorium, 2012; Markus Bauer, Susanne Dzeik, Rene Paulokat, Data Centre, 2012.

Buenos Aires: Edén Batista Kullic, To police the Police, 2013; Florencia Percia, Dry Cleaner, 2013; Luisa Cavanagh, Surgery, 2013; Máximo Ciambella, Mate and Leather, 2013; Darío Schvarzstein, Ultra violet, 2013; Lucas Penafort, Laser Measuring and Computer generated Graphics, 2013.

Cairo: Anu Ramdas, Raw, 2012; Nada el Shazly, Bridge, 2012; Katrine Dirckinck, Pink Plush, 2012; Kaya Behkalam, Travelling, 2012; Mena el Shazly, Coke Bottles, 2012; Nada el Shazly, Wait-Work, 2012.

Moscow: Aleksei Taruts, Knife Fight Training, 2013; Elena Koptyaeva, Two Girls at the Bus Stop, 2013; Oleksiy Radynski, Cleaning, 2013; Oleksiy Radynski, Putin, 2013; Tatjana Efrussi, Controller-Helicopter, 2013; Victoria Marchenkova, Railroad Worker, 2013.

Rio de Janeiro: Cristián Silva-Avária, The City, The Runners, The Fisherman, 2012; Fred Benevides, Felipe Ribiero, Luiz Garcia, Holy Factory, 2012; Lucas Ferraco Nassif, Reinforced Concrete, 2012; Fred Benevides, Cezar Miglorin, Building the City, 2012; Roberto Robalinho, Orfeu Negro, 2012; Cristián Silva-Avária, Circular Movement, 2012.

Tel Aviv: Inbal Herstig, The Printing Machine, 2012; Efrat Merin, Street, 2012; Tamar Nisim, Distillation, 2012; Liron Shalev, Diamonds, 2012; Hadas Emma Kedar, Control Room, 2012; Yakov Afuta, Bread and Water, 2012.

Workers Leaving their Workplace in 9 Cities: Auguste Lumière, La Sortie de l’usine Lumière á Lyon, Lyon 1895; Prerna Bishop, Rusha Dhayarkar, Workers Leaving the Textile Factory, Bangalore 2012; Aline Bonvin, Workers Leaving the Factory for the Blind, Berlin 2012; lucas Penafort, Workers Leaving their Workplace, Buenos Aires 2012; Bahaa Talis, Workers Leaving their Workplace while Ignoring a Bicycle Man, Cairo 2012; Wojciech Domachowski, Minors Leaving their Workplace, Lodz 2013; Tatjana Efrussi, Workers Leaving the Beer Factory, Moscow 2013; Beny Wagner, Workers Leaving the Textile Factory, Rio de Janeiro 2012; Orit Ishay, Just another Day, Tel Aviv 2012.

Curators: Antje Ehmann, Harun Farocki

Curatorial cooperation: Aleksandra Jach, Joanna Sokołowska

Pictograms:  Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann

Organizers: Goethe-Institut, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź


The exhibition supported by:


The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź

Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz

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