Concluding the exhibition The Making of the Chinese New Working Class – Thirty Years of Migration, MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 presents a film screening of ¡Ni un paso astrás! Not one step back! (2011) by New York-based artist Marty Kirchner and Metropolis. Report from China (2006) by Maya Schweizer and Clemens von Wedemeyer.
Marty Kirchner: ¡Ni un paso astrás! Not one step back! (2011)
On February 19, 2007, the New York City branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and Se Hace Camino al Andar/Make the Road by Walking marched through an industrial corridor of Brooklyn and Queens in frigid temperatures demanding justice for fired workers. One year earlier, Latino and Asian immigrant workers at E-Z Supply, a restaurant supplies distribution warehouse, had elected the IWW to be their collective bargaining representative in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certified union election. Following the election, E-Z Supply failed to engage in meaningful negotiations with the workers, and on the morning of December 28, 2006, thirteen drivers, forklift operators, and warehouse helpers were fired in retaliation for union activity. Despite the best efforts of bosses to crush the union, workers remained committed to the struggle, and on August 18th, 2011, with the help of Brandworkers International, the workers won a major settlement with the company including $470,000 in illegally withheld minimum wage and overtime pay. As part of a previous agreement, the company agreed to recognize the Industrial Workers of the World as the union representing the workers. This is a video about the history of these workers’ struggle.
Maya Schweizer and Clemens von Wedemeyer: Metropolis. Report from China (2006)
In 2004 the artists Maya Schweizer and Clemens von Wedemeyer traveled through Shanghai and Beijing to develop a remake of Fritz Lang’s film classic Metropolis from the 1920s. Their 42-minute film Metropolis. Report from China offers an insight into the exploding growth of these Chinese mega cities and questions this current unrestrained drive for progress and modernization. This work assembles documentary, fictional and experimental elements. Interviews with architects and workers on the construction sites of the characteristic high-rise buildings are played over the footage: a permanent flow of images accompanies the voices of the interviewees and juxtaposes the Chinese city views with Lang’s utopia from the 1920s. The urban utopia clashes against the social reality in these mega cities with their marked two-class society.