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(b. 1971, Istanbul; lives and works in Istanbul)
Obstructions / Jean Factory, 2008
Single-channel video, 12’
Courtesy of the artist and Francesca Minini, Milan
Ali Kazma’s documentary series Obstructions, of which Jean Factory is part, continues the study of labor the artist began in 2005 with an experiment performed in a public space. For Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibition 2, Tünel-Karaköy (2005), Kazma filmed local shopkeepers and artisans at work for thirty-seven days, and at the end of each working day he projected the resulting film onto the facade of a local building. After this observation marathon his interest in labor evolved into a series of films about professions, both skilled (neurosurgeon, cook) and low-paid (including partly-automated jeans sewing at a Turkish factory). Kazma sees any work as overcoming obstructions of varying complexity and does his best to show the variety of mental and physical operations involved in each profession. Similar attention spans equate doctors and factory workers, a watchmaker and a painter. In Kazma’s films one can see a hidden polemic with theSoviet productionist artists of the 1920s. From the artist’s point of view, the productionist slogan “Labor will rule the world!” is redundant: labor already rules the world, replacing chaos with order millimeter by millimeter. At the same time, Jean Factory is also an act of solidarity with workers. The film establishes a direct connection between those who make clothes and those who wear them, joining the viewer’s leisure time and the factory working shift in a single flow.