Cite as: Discussion of the Panel ‘Geographies of Everyday Labour’ of the conference In Front of the Factory: Cinematic Spaces of Labour, ICI Berlin, 26–27 May 2016, video recording, mp4, 38:42 <>
26 – 27 May 2016

Discussion of the Panel ‘Geographies of Everyday Labour’

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:38:42
First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin

Part of the Conference

In Front of the Factory: Cinematic Spaces of Labour

“Most narrative films take place in that part of life where work has been left behind.” Harun Farocki’s condemnation of cinema’s unwillingness to represent labour finds echoes in present-day political discussions about the struggles and persistent invisibility of labour in public space. Undocumented labour, the weakening of union organizing, and the decoupling of work from physical space in the era of the Internet, are phenomena that have irreversibly altered everyday life.

At the same time, a new vocabulary capturing the expansions of labour – affective labour, care work, women’s work, immaterial and precarious labour – has made it possible to deepen our understanding of what ought to be considered as labour and where this labour happens. In the same vein, a growing number of filmmakers are showing a commitment to render the spaces where work takes place today visible again. Despite arguments to the contrary, film and the moving image have always been concerned with the processes of labour, including the work of cinema itself. If film theorists such as Jean Louis Comolli chastised cinema’s distancing approach to spaces of labour, it could be argued that they had in mind a limited notion of the workspace. In other words, whilst the space in front of the factory has enjoyed relatively little screen time in film’s history, spaces of labour hold an enduring relationship with the medium.

This conference will tackle the historically shifting relationship between cinema and the representation of labour spaces and will reflect on the renewed attention to the workspace in today’s art cinema and documentary production.


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Karl Schoonover
Ewa Mazierska
Elena Pollacchi
Britta Lange
Mona Damluji
Andreas Bunte
Daniel Eisenberg
Alex Gerbaulet
Mantas Kvedaravicius

Organized by

Saima Akhtar
Rosa Barotsi
Clio Nicastro
An ICI Berlin event, in cooperation with Forum Transregionale Studien, Irmgard Coninx Stiftung, ACUD Kino, and re:work