• DISOBEY THE AUTOMATION FLOW •
SIGNS OF DISOBEDIENCE
Lorenna Rocha, Felipe Carnevalli and João Dumans
In the intense, exploratory and violent dynamics of work, human and more-than-human bodies are molded and destroyed in hard work routines, reconfiguring their temporalities and their ways of relating to the space. At the same time, the brutality of everyday repetition and submission to authority figures, crossed by issues of race, gender and class, turn the work into a terrain where dichotomies emerge as a possibility of disobeying the flow of automation.
Precarity and technique.
Aggressiveness and subtlety.
Containment and excess.
The coexistence of these extreme states shows every now and then the potential signs of resistance within a structure that extracts energy and vitality from the bodies. The act of breathing, looking, escaping, waving or feeling tired becomes the gesture that changes the course of work activities, a rebellion that provokes the repositioning of power relations, even if briefly. The fact that such movements sometimes appear in a subtle way does not mean that they are devoid of violence: they reveal to us the weapons that human and more-than-human bodies use to try to engender some kind of “break” in the exploration cycle.
Lata, directed by Alisha Tejpal, invites us to follow an Indian woman through her abusive domestic labor. Between the service station and the corridors of the upper-middle class building, the frames and dialogues show class and gender differences in the work environment. But the silent resistance to such unequal structure takes shape in the furtive calls to her family, in the scarce moments of rest and in the brief body care moment in front of the small mirror in the laundry room. The relationship between work and gender extends and becomes more complex in After the deluge, by the director Eysner Vladimir, which takes us to a remote rural space, with biblical and diluvian resonances. While women, in a predominantly male universe, confront the authority of men, the violence perpetuated by an industrial production system can be seen in the relationship with animals – which, despite the constant imminence of slaughter, resist in an unpredictable way.
In The peepul tree, by Sonja Feldmeier, the harmful effects of the human productivist system on more-than-human beings also permeate the shots of this foreigner director in her visit to India, where she captures a group of workers gradually cutting down a centenary sacred tree. The director's lack of knowledge of the Indian language makes it impossible for her to directly communicate with the individuals being filmed, but the power of these shots reveals the complexity of the situation through contradictory feelings that involve, at the same time, the violence and the beauty of work and cinema. Finally, in 60 hours, the impracticality of communication is not due to the difference in language, but to the very barrier built up by the hard working hours. Through Saufert Ákos' camera, we follow a couple who never meet due to different work shifts. Intertwined by the silence and repetition of daily work, little by little the bodies cry out for an impossible escape.
In the arrangement of the four films selected for the section Disobeying the flow of automation, the time of work is the time for the bodies to act. From the plant floor, the service station, the farm bay and the corners of the metropolis, the productivist illusion blatantly shows the physical limits of human and more-than-human bodies. Labor and machinic gestures, socioeconomic inequalities and the drive to progress gets inside bodies, spaces, the shape of things, clothes, colors... and conditions everything: even shots. But if labor relations vibrate in the materiality of the films, the minimal signs of resistance (or giving-up) emerge in their silent power: amid the recurrence of what is structured and exceeds as violence, there are gaps for subtleties that harbor sparks of disobedience.