Labour in a Single Shot

Two-week film workshop

Antje Ehmann & Harun Farocki

Beirut launched its first season of programs in 2012 with Labor in a Single Shot, a two-week workshop lead by esteemed filmmaker Harun Farocki and author and film curator Antje Ehmann.

The task of the workshop was to produce short films that consist of one single shot. The subject of investigation was labour: paid and unpaid, material and immaterial, rich in tradition or altogether new. The formal restraints draw on the method and decisiveness of the early 19th century films, for instance the Lumiére brothers' "Workers Leaving the Lumiére Factory" and "Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat". This lead right into the formal basics of cinematography and raised essential questions for the filming process itself: How to find a beginning and an end, particularly when dealing with a repetitive process? Should the camera be still or moving? How to capture the choreography of a workflow in a single shot in the best, most interesting way? The early films implied that every detail of the moving world is worth considering and capturing. They had a fixed point of view while the contemporary documentary films nowadays, usually out of indecision, tend to pack sequences of shots one after another resulting in a mixture of cinematic confusion.

"Labor in a single shot" comprises a series of workshops taking place in 15 cities around the world between 2012 and 2014. In each location the project aims to deal with and respond to the specifics of each city and region where the work takes place, as it is vital to open one's eyes and set oneself in motion: Where do we see which kind of labor? What happens in the center of the city, what occurs in its periphery? What is characteristic and what is unusual with regard to this city? What kind of labor processes could be an interesting cinematographic challenge? The workshop outcomes are presented in a series of exhibitions across the cities where the films have ensued. The course of exhibitions is a means of testing out different forms and formats defined by institutional and financial restrictions and possibilities, specific to each location.

Organized in collaboration with Goethe Institut, Contemporary Image Collective and Cimatheque, supported by Goethe Institut and Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation.