A film by Dmitry Vilensky (2003) part of the installation “Negation of Negation”

This film is a characteristic example of the video documentaries that Vilensky has shot in St Petersburg, Moscow and Berlin. In this case, he focuses on workers on a car assembly line in Nizhnyi Novgorod. The monotonous gallery of images is interrupted by shots of people leaving the building somehow too quickly. The context demonstrates that they are workers in the same factory, now going home from work. However, the scenes are more reminiscent of Hollywood disaster films with people running out of a skyscraper where a time bomb is ticking away: the building contains a machine that will destroy the existing order.

from Ekaterina Degot | The art of sabotage published at the catalogue of the exhibition “Faster than Histor”, KIASMA, 2004

This film was projected onto the front of the installation.

It was made in the Gorky Automobile Plant in Nizhny Novgorod, which was build in 1929 by Henry Ford and has since been Russia’s leading car manufacturer.

In ‘Production Line,’ it was important for me to reflect the most basic work activity (work on an assembly line), forcing the audience to look at workers once again after a long break. Approaching the proletariat is important on a symbolic level; in a society dominated by financial speculation and service, the notion of physical labor itself has been forced to the periphery, but work goes on, and never really vanished from post-capitalist society.

The film is based on the parallel montage of the faces and hands of the workers who work on the assembly line on the one hand, and total shots of the factory entrance, as workers leave the factory during the changing shift.It is important to note that the film focuses on conveying the tension involved in the work process, which becomes especially clear if you compare their faces during work and after work. Though work on the assembly is obviously mechanical and demeaning, we can see that the worker gains dignity through concentration and communication while working. At the same time, when the workers leave the factory, they lose their individual quality and become a grey, faceless mask. (D.V.)