12-part series that explores the changing production model by which the old tobacco factory became the current International Centre for Contemporary Culture. Lurking two big questions: what do we need from the past when it comes to work? and how and from where one can speak of memory ?
Tabakalera embodies these and many other issues, which has allocated a small space in the building, the Storage, where this series is shown as a video installation, adding a chapter each mid-month, until September 2016. The project is accompanied by a public side events.
It wasn't just an adventure. We had something together, a 100-year relationship which as soon as it started, began to founder. Finally, it was over. However, it still comes, it still lurks in my home and treats me as if between us there was still more than bittersweet memories. I move to another city. I move to another world. In vain: it follows me everywhere. "We always see it vigilant, like a shadow", a group of teenagers that meet with their dogs in the Estrella bar in the afternoon tell me. “Who is it?”, they ask. And I, knowing that they are too young to know about it other than, maybe, by hearsay, tell them nonchalantly: "It's the 20th century, which I can't get away from".
Defunct relationships are a nightmare or a dream from which one fine day we awaken. Benjamin wished that we could awaken from that bad dream where society was chained to relationships of power and exploitation. He criticised the Surrealists for making the dream (a social dream) a continuous pleasure. Waking up was synonymous with emancipating, being freed from the yoke of myth and ideology. It was maybe about opening our eyes to the daytime light of the intellect, like Brecht when he sang to new thought, when he asked to be able to always feel the excitement of a first time (a book's first page, the first notes of a song, the first light at dawn, the first ideas of a project). It is curious that poet Cesare Pavese, who attentively wrote from a peasant’s perspective of existence, saw waking up as “a dry pain", however. "A corpse is what's left after waking too often". The poem referred to is titled, precisely, "End of Fantasy".
“We only have this power: to start
each day of life—before the earth,
under a silent sky—waiting for an awakening.
One is amazed by so much drudgery at dawn;
through awakening within awakening a job is done.”
This first chapter tackles something which the group of former workers from the Tobacco factory explored in depth in their different stories: going in, starting work. Sometimes, they said, tiredness followed them until the very moment they had to start working. What worker hasn't experienced a similar situation? Waking up, starting to walk, turning your body into a regularly functioning machine; nothing in that is easy nor immediate. And still, we work with extraordinary effectiveness.
The organisers of production systems have known this since ancient times