Reality Manifestos - Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

A study of détournement as Art Forms


Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Währinger Straße 59, 2nd Staircase, 1st Floor, 1090 Wien

19 January - 3 March 2012. Opening on 18 January, 19h.

Works in the Exhibition

Cora Piantoni (DE/CH)

Cora Piantoni lives and works between Munich and Zurich. The artist works primarily with photography, video, audio interviews and text, searching for the political and aesthetic implications of the documentary and its expansion in a contemporary art context. She relies on unspectacular forms of aesthetic resistance to market-driven representation, and takes a self-reflective approach to exploring oral history and its records, story-telling and labor. She shows a constant interest in Eastern Europe, both as an art scene and as a social and political geography, and specifically in the processes before and after the collapse of state capitalism and the end of communist ideologies, with the expansion of the free market ideology and the change in the perception of labor, as an important dystopian breakdown in Western society as well.

The Operators (2011)

Multi-channel video installation

One of the central concerns of Cora Piantoni's work is the representation of labor, which is increasingly disappearing from public view, and its transformations from skilled manual labor to current immaterial forms, its precarization and how it reflects on the concurrent dematerialization of the art object, which may open up possibilities for non-alienated alternative forms of production. In The Operators she reflects on her own day job as a projectionist, taking as a starting point Andrzej Wajda's film Man of Iron (1981), a film from the movement of "Cinema of Moral Concern," to explore the division of labor in the cinema apparatus, from production to projection, how time and the distribution of the gaze are organized, and how the struggle on the street can break into this formation. She makes interviews with the lowest level employed in the industry, projectionists in marginalized cinemas still working with physical film material in 35 or 16 mm, whose work has remained manual while the skills of their trade are being diluted in digital automation. She uses labor relations in cinema as a metaphor of the division of labor in society at large, and confronts issues of marginalized positions and inequalities, like that of independent cinema with respect to commercial cinema, or the confrontation between industrial factory and social factory, or the exhibition space as former factory space turned into a realm of authentic experience.

Cora Piantoni: The Operators (2011)

The Operators (2011)

Multi-channel video installation

Courtesy the artist