Labour in a Single Shot

Labour in a Single Shot

Christián Silva-Avária, Labour in a Single Shot (still), 2012. Film. Concrete. Rio de Janeiro.

February 16, 2015

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

February 27–April 6, 2015

Opening: February 26, 6pm
Conference: February 26–28

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

People work everywhere—from the industrial urban centers and the metropoles of the world to villages and small towns. Yet work appears only at the margins of film culture. This vacuum constantly concerned the artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki, who died in July 2014. Work as subject matter, film as medium and means of expression—it is in the field between these two poles that the exhibition, a three-day international conference and the accompanying program of workshops are taking place. 

Along with fellow filmmakers, Farocki and the curator and artist Antje Ehmann held workshops to explore the understanding of work and labor today. The project was developed together with the Goethe-Institut in 15 cities on five continents. Labour in a Single Shot presents an encyclopedia of global working conditions in the 21st century. The result are more than 400 one- to two-minute films based on the 1895 film classic Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory. Farocki and Ehmann drew up strict formal guidelines for the workshop films: No film may be any longer than two minutes. Each must be about work. No edits are allowed.

In the installation at HKW these film miniatures are accommodated in a spatial form. When the moving images are played side by side, it is possible to spin the finest of connecting threads between them, while also highlighting fractures and differences. The installation derives its rhythm from the use of the semicircle in the setting by architects Kuehn Malvezzi. A curtain separates large-scale projections of the workshop films in the exhibition hall from Arbeiter verlassen ihren Arbeitsplatz (Workers leaving their workplace), actualizations of the Lumière film that were shot around the world. The pictograms of the artist duo Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann offer deeper and humorous information on the production locations. 

The conference takes the films as a starting point to explore Ehmann’s and Farocki’s paths of searching and thinking. Presentations and discussions will focus on such topics as how working practices structure our lives, and the extent to which production conditions determine ways of life. How can global forms of labor and “valorization” be discussed in an era in which work is becoming increasingly invisible? What discursive potential and means of criticism are harbored by the medium of film? And how does our viewpoint change when it is broadened by global-historical perspectives?

Because Harun Farocki fervently wanted his work to be communicated and made accessible to young people, and to a public that went beyond traditional art and film audiences, an educational outreach program to accompany the exhibition was developed jointly with him and Ehmann. The program includes screenings, discussions and filmworkshops for kids, teens and adults. 

Harun Farocki’s works have accompanied and enriched HKW over the years—repeatedly in the Berlin Documentary Forum and as part of the exhibition The Potosí Principle, initiated by Alice Creischer, Andreas Siekmann, and Max Jorge Hinderer. 

Conference with John Akomfrah, Alexander Alberro, Gadi Algazi, Nora M. Alter, Dirk Baecker, Michael Baute, Wolfgang Beilenhoff, Raymond Bellour, Christa Blümlinger, Filipa César, Diedrich Diederichsen, Thomas Elsaesser, Kodwo Eshun, Anselm Franke, Detlef Gericke-Schönhagen, Maren Grimm, Roy Grundmann, Ayesha Hameed, Tom Holert, Ute Holl, Rahel Jaeggi, Gertrud Koch, Christine Lang, Isabell Lorey, Doreen Mende, Prabhu Mohapatra, Armin Nassehi, Christine Noll Brinckmann, Volker Pantenburg, Birger Priddat, Constanze Ruhm, Werner Ružička, Anjalika Sagar, Peter Schwartz, Bernhard Siegert, Hito Steyerl, Gregory Williams, and Klaus Wyborny.

Labour in a Single Shot is a production of Haus der Kulturen der Welt in cooperation with Harun Farocki Filmproduktion and the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with the International Research Center “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History” (re:work) at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. With support from the Capital Cultural Fund. The Excellence Project  “Labour in a Single Shot/Eine Einstellung zur Arbeit” is a coproduction of Harun Farocki Filmproduktion and the Goethe-Institut. Coordinator: Detlef Gericke-Schönhagen, Goethe-Institut Boston/Goethe-Institut Vilnius.Workshops, films, and discussions in cooperation with ver.di, Türkischer Bund in Berlin-Brandenburg, ver.di Jugendbildungsstätte Berlin-Konradshöhe e. V., and filmArche e. V. Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

Press contact:
Anne Maier, Haus der Kulturen der Welt
T +49 30 39787 153 / anne.maier [​at​]

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