Harun Farocki

Workers Leaving the Factory, Germany, 1995

Video, black & white and color, 36 min.

Haroun Farouki’s video work “Workers leaving the factory”, focuses upon the factory gates, the entrance which has always served as the arena of confrontation. This is where strikes were called, and barricades erected to disrupt the work of the plant, in opposition to decisions of the factory’s management and owners. This was where labour leaders tried to prove the justice of their case to the factory’s employees. This was the scene of the demonstrations, protests and campaigns the workers launched in defence of their rights.

The effort invested in this video work is a fascinating cinematographic analysis, commencing with Chaplin’s “Modern Times”, by way of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, up to Pasolini’s  “Accatone". Farouki’s film shows that the Lumiere brothers’ short movie already bore the germs of a predictable and critical debate, hinging upon the place of the individual in an industrial society. 

 “Most films start when work ends, says Haroun Farouki. I chose to assemble images from various lands, along many generations, to express the notion of ‘leaving the factory’, as though the time has come to collect footage of films, features and documentaries, the way words are compiled in a dictionary …”