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The movement of people working- dvd [2006-07-31]

The movement of people working offers a fascinating journey in to a world that’s slowly dieing namely manual labour. As we become more reliant on machines to make goods, maintain and cultivate the world around us. Becoming less tired to our own bodies for sustenance, more relying on others to collect and kill our food.

Phill Niblock Filmed the footage for the first side of the dvd disk in Peru and Mexico between 1973 and 1974, offering up four films that run for twenty minutes or so a piece, though they feel joined to a  certain extent, as Niblock droning sound work tracks fall often half way through the films. Each film is made up of footage of people doing manual labour, be it full body shots or just hands speeding across weave or making of brick. Each shot only last a minute or so, but each is equal captivating, they seem to have a very strange quality to them with the drone pitches of sound attached to them, almost coming across dream like, the sound quality here is breathtaking and to get full appreciation it should be played in 5.1 surround sound.

The second side of the disk offers up two more films one from Hong Kong, it runs for 43 minutes. It seems to be more like a world we recognize now, most of the footage focusing on sea linked jobs, the clothing is more western and familiar, products like such as cases of coke appear been unloaded from rickety boats.

The second film of side two was filmed in Hungary in 1985, as well as been the most recent footage; it’s the longest film on offer here too, running hundred and seven minutes. It starts off with farm footage, moving hay and straw  and  racking and preparation of seeds, milking of cows etc, again this seems a more recognisable world than the first sides films, there’s a certain amount of automation, and again the cloths are recognisable, but still most of the work done, would by all likelyhood in rich western country be done by machine, later on clips of factorys are added in, but for the most part the images are of a very rural feel.

All in all a very captivating both visual and musically, it never gets boring due to the constant change of fascinating images. It can either be watched in pieces or all the way through, or just let it play as you move in and out of the room, I grantee it will catch your eye and you’ll be sucked in once again. You can find more info and buy direct this rewarding project here.

Roger Batty
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