Visual Culture And The Working World

a project on cultural identifications with work

It is essential for the activities of RG that they revolve around the topic of work. REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (whose German implications range from “Cleaning Service” to “Purification Society”) is an artists project group that works at the point of intersection between art and social reality. The way of working is based on the positive potential of connecting different spheres of society. RG understands contemporary art as a catalyst of social and political processes.
In the framework of the Gyeonggi residency program REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT worked on a project dedicated to the relations of work and visual culture. RG takes advantage of the rich industrial cluster located in the Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul. Local industries include heavy industry (i.e. electronics, machine building, heavy and chemical industry, steel), light industry (textile), and food industry.
The project is an ongoing research in the esthetic dimensions of production processes. It transfers industrial production into visual patterns of a video installation. That images serve as the basis for a public discourse on the changing conditions and interrelations in a globalized working world. Our specific interest is to make evident in which way the constantly changing conditions of a flexibilized economy create new social patterns, human identifications and role models.
For the project we took a look behind the scenes at two Korean businesses. As model cases for our research we choose the metal-working business, Kumoh Machinery & Tools Co. and the food producing company YeaGreen Co. Resulting from our visual analysis of the work processes in these indicator businesses RG worked out a multi layered four channel video installation. It focuses on the characteristics of work environments and considers them as a set for a play. Workers interaction with machinery and products becomes the plot, work gear becomes the costumes, and the work place becomes the stage. In that way the video installation creates a visual interpretation of flexible and temporary human identifications with the globalized working world.

Food And Steel
four channel video installation
16minutes loop
filmed in October/November 2010
at Kumoh Machinery & Tools Co.
and YeaGreen Co.

special thanks to Kevin BW Lee, Siheung Company Ceo Association




images from the Lotus Food company YeaGreen and Kumoh Machinery and Tools Co.