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April 2013 Video Space

Two Works

 

Bringing two works together is, in some sense, the most basic and condensed way of making something, starting a conversation. Differentiation in value between forms of work, visible and invisible or informal forms of labour, is termed on the immeasurability of certain modes of production. Segregation is predicated on the demand that what is valuable, as work, must have a visible, countable and even, pre-validated form. A large amount of the informal labour economy is constituted by secondary jobs, care work, domestic work, trades that operate through different modes of exchange, work that is unpaid or unseen. At the same time, the highest status is given to works that defy these terms, that are apparently beyond value. To this extent, what is understood as beyond value and what is considered as non-valuable or invalid share a similar sort of opacity. Bringing two works together is, in some sense, the most basic and condensed way of making something, starting a conversation.

 

Gil Leung is an artist and writer based in London. She is Distribution Manager at LUX and Editor of Versuch. She writes for Afterall and other independent publications. 

 

 

 

 

Blue On White, Edges And Frames

Margeret Raspé, Germany, 1979, 16 minutes, Colour, Silent, Super-8, HD Video

 

Between 1971-74 Margaret Raspé made a series of Super-8 works with a self-made camera helmet. Works like Blue On White, Edges And Frames where the artist records herself painting, and others like The Sadist Beats The Unquestionably Innocent which records the process of sweet cream becoming butter or Oh Death How Nourishing You Are in which a chicken is killed and prepared, look at the conditions of production through an excess of banality. The works present the shift of matter from one thing to another, domestic compositions in which the most mundane and also visible transformations occur: 'I present you a form: you can fulfil it with this or that sense. For every picture you can exchange an analogous one. Every sequence of a so-called functional work is a part of the open spiral of life and death, growth and dissolution. These films are cut-outs off the running thread of time of this spiral of life and death, growth and dissolution. These films are cut-outs off the running thread time of this spiral, into an unknown future, as the time of the work progresses, you never know what exactly is going to come out. Even if you believe you know the way more or less. With the 'camera-helmet' I discovered a technical means, to keep on film the central perspective, which I take in as I work. While I, in the moment of shooting, concentrate on the working process, the film records, where I coincidentally direct my view through the camera. The themes came out of an interest in the minimal transformation processes, in which I participate. I found it an area with which I am familiar.' (Margeret Raspé)



Nightcleaners (Part 1)

The Berwick Street Collective, UK, 1972-1975, 90 minutes, B&W, Sound (Optical), 16mm ,Video


Nightcleaners Part 1 was a documentary made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan), about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimized and underpaid. Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner's Action Group and the unions - and the complex nature of the campaign itself. The result was an intensely self-reflexive film, which implicated both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. It is increasingly recognised as a key work of the 1970s and as an important precursor, in both subject matter and form, to current political art practice. “The strength of Nightcleaners, I think, is the way it represents the input of the Women’s Movement as well as the Trade Unions and the night cleaners themselves as three parallel, but interconnected, discourses.” (Mary Kelly)