Museum of Arts and Design Film Presentation Begins This Month

It features three works about manufacturing and materials

From February 23 to May 22, 2016, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents In Time (The Rhythm of the Workshop): Andreas Bunte, Denis Côté, Daniel Eisenberg and Varvara & Mar.

Featuring the work of three filmmakers, Andreas Bunte (Berlin), Denis Côté (Montreal), and Daniel Eisenberg (Chicago), In Time turns the camera lens on manufacturing and the ways that material, bodies, and value are shaped by industry. The films are punctuated by Varvara & Mar's (Tallinn/Barcelona) Speed of Markets (2014), an installation of seven metronomes set to follow and translate into rhythm the real-time trade volume of the stock markets. Positioning Speed of Markets in relation to the films sets the depicted labor against the time-keeping rhythm of the metronome while grounding the market's abstraction of tangible goods and services back in the sensual.

"It's exciting to present MAD's first film and video exhibition," said Shannon R. Stratton, MAD's William and Mildred Lasdon chief curator. "In Time is an opportunity to not only witness the highly skilled process-based work that is still significant to industrial manufacturing, but also to consider the complex relationships between time, skilled handwork, labor, value, and of course, the craftsmanship of time-based media and its role in capturing and measuring durational activity."

Specific film works in the exhibition include:

  • Two Films about Pressure, Andreas Bunte, 2013. In this work, two short films are positioned physically back-to-back: Künstliche Diamanten (Synthetic Diamonds) (12:00), which depicts the process of fabricating synthetic diamonds; and Unterdruck (Low-Pressure) (13:16), a slow pan over a German Democratic Republic (GDR) athletic training facility that was built in the 1970s to simulate the effects of high altitude. The works consider the fabrication of a natural process against the backdrop of the former GDR as well as the relationship between the production of a trained athletic body and the pressurized political conditions of the once divided Germany.
  • Joy of Man's Desiring, Denis Côté, 2014 (68:00). This full-length film by the Québécois director Denis Côté is a hypnotic wandering through factories and workshops, where the camera moves back and forth from machinery and the action of production to the workers themselves at lunch or in conversation. Set in motion by the cryptic words of a young female worker, the film follows her initial declarations and instructions ("Understand what we are building here, OK?") to capture a cast of characters simultaneously working and waxing poetic about the factory, labor, agency, and the human relationship to machinery and tools. Intentionally elliptical, Joy of Man's Desiring does not set out to make social commentary so much as an open reflection on the blue-collar workplace.
  • The Unstable Object (II), Daniel Eisenberg, 2015 (13:42). Daniel Eisenberg's The Unstable Object is a long-term observational project about the conditions of factory production in the early part of the 21st century. Consisting of nine 20- to 30-minute portraits of specific factories across the globe, the project seeks to portray the particular structural, ethical, sensual, and economic relationships that vary from one factory context to the next. In The Unstable Object (II), Eisenberg has created a three-channel installation portraying manufacturing at Ottobock, a German prosthetics company founded in 1919 by its namesake prosthetist. At the company's factory in Duderstadt, thousands of prosthetic hands, feet, arms, and legs are produced daily for the world market, from wooden feet to microprocessor-controlled knees.

In Time (The Rhythm of the Workshop) is organized by MAD's William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator Shannon R. Stratton and Curatorial Assistant and Project Manager Sophia Merkin. Support for In Time (The Rhythm of the Workshop) is generously provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

For more on the craftsmanship and handwork behind manufacturing, be sure to check out the March issue of i+s!