Metaphor and Politics: The Tehran Retrospective of Harun Farocki

Curated by Reza Haeri

A Collaboration between Ag Galerie and Sazmanab

September 5, 2015 – 30, 2015

Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades is a video installation of scenes from throughout film’s history of workers leaving the factory, displayed on twelve monitors simultaneously. In cinematography, perception and concept diverge. Indeed history’s first film, Lumière’s La sortie des usines Lumière, shows a building that doesn’t look like a factory at all. It looks more like a farm. When it comes to social conflict, the show place ‘in front of a factory’, is very significant; when it comes to a private life of a film’s character, which really only begins after work, the factory is relegated to the background. […] The existence of factories and movie stars are not compatible. A movie star working in a factory evokes associations of a fairy tale in which a princess must work before she attains her true calling. Factories – and the whole subject of labor – are at the fringes of film history.
“I have gathered, compared, and studied these and many other images which use the motif of the first film in the history of cinema, “workers leaving the factory,” and have assembled them into a film, Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers leaving the factory, video, 37 minutes, b/w and color, 1995). The film montage had a totalizing effect on me. With the montage before me, I found myself gaining the impression that for over a century cinematography had been dealing with just one single theme. Like a child repeating for more than a hundred years the first words it has learned to speak in order to immortalize the joy of first speech. Or as though cinema had been working in the same spirit as painters of the Far East, always painting the same landscape until it becomes perfect and comes to include the painter within it. When it was no longer possible to believe in such perfection, film was invented.”

Ag Galerie : #43 South Azodi St., Karim Khan St., Tehran, Iran