WERKER 10. COMMUNITY DARKROOM
25th JUN — 26th JUL 2015
It seems that, during the past century and a half, ever since photography was invented - as was the case, only fifty years later, with cinema - images in their most diverse forms have gradually escaped from the factory, rendering invisible one of the most time-consuming activities in developed societies: work. This was the description given by Harun Farocki in his brilliant homage to cinema on the occasion of its centennial, Arbeiter Verlassen die Fabrik [Workers Leaving The Factory]. The fictions around film, and, therefore, around the rest of images, soon escaped from the space of work to align themselves with other, less politically connoted representations.
With 2008's so-called financial crisis, and with its economic consequences on people's everyday lives, the issue of work has been brought back. The threat of chronic unemployment, the extension of a model of precarious work and the gradual replacement of a welfare state with a model based of solidarity, which is to rely on the care of individuals, are only a few of the manifestations of the new restructuring of work which is spreading through the countries of Southern Europe. These new forms of work are, in their majority, invisible, dispossessed of images and lacking representations in public space. Móstoles, which was, in its origins, a working-class town, is an interesting place where to ask some more specific questions related to the representation of work. If work, and the notion of a working class, were central in imagining resistance a century ago, we can say that the unemployed, the part-time employed, the precarious and migrant workers, demand new images in order to render visible that which would otherwise remain hidden.
During the process of over a year of collaborative work, Werker magazine has set in motion, through workshops, a variety of methodologies of self-representation, as well as different processes of generation of images of work with associations and collectives from Móstoles, among which are: the Rompe el círculo association, the AMPA of CEIP Beato Simón de Rojas, CIDESPU (Citizens In Defense of Public Education), UFIL Pablo Neruda and Montemayor Mora, of the Photography Group of the Villa de Móstoles Cultural Center. In the final phase of the project, design students from the Madrid Complutense University Fine Arts Faculty also took part, together with activist Juan Carlos Mohr.
The exhibition pretends to be a space which can contain diverse processes developed by Werker in Móstoles, but where new self-representation and reflection strategies based on the image can also be activated. During the exhibition, both Werker and some of these groups will develop collective work practices open to the participation of those interested, in what pretends to become a people's school of photography.
Werker magazine is a publication on photography and work, run by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos. Its point of departure is the movement of workers' photography, a group of amateur photography associations that appeared in 1920's Germany, following in the footsteps of the first socialist photography experiences in the USSR, and that spread over the rest of Europe, the United States and Japan. Far from adopting a rhetorical or nostalgic approach to the work of these photographers, Werker is interested in the methodologies used by that movement.