Work Sites

Film program organized by Zarouhie Abdalian and presented at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans in 2018.

What is the experience of work? What does the character of the work process indicate about the social relations that prevail both at the level of the worksite and more broadly at the level of society? How is the workplace structured, what kind of divisions of labor does it reflect? How is the worker’s body transformed by the work that she does? How is work executed and felt in time (relative to the clock, to the heartbeat, to ‘free’ time)— what rhythms are expressed by the work process, both individually and collectively?

The films in this presentation explore an array of work processes and work environments. Using various approaches to the documentary format, the filmmakers organize sound and image to make sensible the quality of labor in a given workplace. Framing these workplaces and the activities of workers within them, the films also describe the relations of production that determine the character of the productive process. Each of the films indicate systems through which work is carried out, by whom, and to what end. The program features films that make explicit the interconnection of these subjective and objective conditions; the films, in other words, endeavor to ascribe meaning to work.

Allan Sekula, Gala (2005)
Flora M’mbugu-Schelling, These Hands (1992)
Harun Farocki, In Comparison (2008)
Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematograficos, Para Construir Una Casa (1972)
Kevin Jerome Everson, Quality Control (2011)
Loreley Unamuno and Malena Bystrowicz, Women of the Mine (2014)