Labor Move (2016)


HD, 14 min 3-channel synchronized immersive video installation.
Each screen 9:16, portrait format.
 
3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

3 synchronized stills from Labour Move. DOP: Dennis Helm

 

Each screen portrait format.

Each screen 7 meters high, 4 meters wide.

 

What is (re)presentation?

What is (re)staging?

What is (re)enactment?

What is (re)production?

- in relation to reality/space/cinema.


 

During the days of 8th and 9th of January 2016 a 48-hour dock workers performance took place at Kunstkraftwerk in Leipzig, Germany as part of the Keep Frozen series. Performers were dock workers from the harbor of Reykjavik that had been involved in the making of the documentary film Keep Frozen.

 
 

It was decided early on to use the opportunity of documentation to the fullest and give it a place aside the other works in the Keep Frozen series and take important elements and questions a step further than possible with the narrative cinema documentary. Audiovisual footage was recorded where focus was not only put on abstracting the movements and the sounds and composition of the work taking place but also the immersive qualities of the large space and synchronization between spatial screens of the installation that would be put up in the same space later on.


In Reykjavik harbor a group of dock workers work together. The job hasn´t really been mechanized. They have to endure this task using almost only physical power in an endless repetition of movements where they move the boxes from one place to the next until the freezer compartment is empty and the container trucks full and gone away. The workers work without contracts and get paid for how fast they are which means their skills in working as synchronized machine is really put to the test.

 

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

 

The outcome was a 3-channel portrait format synchronized video-installation that was exhibited as part of a mixed-media installation together with the debris of the performance (boxes, straps, machinery) in the same space as the performance took place. In space of 12 meter high ceiling and 500 m2 floor size the video installation was immersive with three 7 meters high screens, each 4 meter wide.

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

The next stage of filming, editing and re-staging the event through a multichannel video installation in order to capture the experience is novel and intriguing. Given the temporal nature of this endeavour it is crucial that it is properly documented so that it can be reinterpreted in al its complexity. This will, in turn excel the original nature of the work at hand and blur the limits between video installation, theatre and performance.
— Jonatan Habib-Engqvist, independent curator and theorist
Installation view. Photo: dotgain

Installation view. Photo: dotgain

The filming was a part of the 48-hour performance open to audiences.

 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

 
 
 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: Lisa Matthys.

 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

 

By approaching the documentation as an art work in itself with its own qualities and possibilities the work entered into a conversation with the narrative cinema documentary Keep Frozen. The relationship between the more narrative structure of a cinema movie with sitting down audiences and the spatial experience of an experimental video-installation was explored to the fullest. The work explores important topic of the medium. The art piece operates on the borders of four artistic/cinematic concepts (re)staging; re-en(act)ment, (re)presentation and (re)production.

 
Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

 

The work poses questions about the relationships between these concepts and the cinematic reproduction of a spatial performance that in turn is a spatial reproduction of real life events.

 

What is reality?

What is fiction?

What is re-staging or re-enactment?

How is the documentary a work of an author?

A fiction?

Where is the reality in abstraction?

 

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

 

What happens when the same subject moves between different medium?

How does it effect the representation?

Which part is representation and which not?

What happens?

How does this affect the audiences in a different way?

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

The work also enters into a conversation with the performance it is documenting. The performance has been transformed into a photograph, although moving and also time-based, it is more permanent and has different qualities. It has been transformed into another medium.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.

Filming during 48-hour performance. Photo: dotgain.