Intervention #1. Haim Sokol's performance Measure of Labor

Intervention #1. Haim Sokol's performance Measure of LaborIntervention #1. Haim Sokol's performance Measure of Labor


For the first artistic intervention at the conference Haim Sokol has created a performance featuring its main character, the Angel of History.

The natural measure of labor is working time. The Angel of History is a poetic trope coined by Walter Benjamin in his text On the Concept of History, where the author draws the landscape of world history.

In his performances balancing between theater and ritual, Haim Sokol develops Benjamin’s philosophic poetics. The main and recurring protagonists of these performances become the Angel of History and the Migrant, while their content and form are various types of “dirty” underpaid physical labor. A story of exploitation, work, and time form a unified horizon of meanings through which contemporaneity can be seen.

In Sokol's new performance created for the conference, the Angel of History poetically reproduces a janitor’s work, washing the floor. The artist transfers water from one bucket to another with wings sewn from a floor cloth until the water runs out. Water—the traditional metaphor of time—becomes the measure of labor which measures the “intangible” labour of the janitor and/or artist, while the time of labor becomes historical time.



Haim Sokol is an artist and teacher at Moscow’s Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia, member of editorial board at the Khudozhestvenny Zhurnal magazine. Laureate of the professional award Soratnik (2009), nominee for the Innovation Prize (short-listed in 2008 and 2014) and the Kandinsky Prize (long-listed in 2014). Sokol works in installation, sculpture and video. Contributor of multiple exhibitions in Russia and abroad, including the 2nd Kyiv Biennial (2015), the 1st Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India (2012), and the 3rd Moscow Biennale (2009). He lives and works between Moscow and Jerusalem.