Workers Leaving the Factory - Ten Days that Shook the World

Les LeVeque

2011 | 00:13:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | DV video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Found Footage, Image Processing, Labor

Workers Leaving the Factory - Ten Days that Shook the World – downloaded, repeatedly recompressed and reversed V.1 is a 13-minute re-edit of the film Workers Leaving The Lumière’s Factory in Lyon. Famously, in 1895 the Lumières assembled approximately 100 workers and crowded them together behind the gates of their factory.  When the gates were opened the film began and the “compressed” workers emerged and dispersed into the street.  In this digital work, an online version of the Lumière’s movie was downloaded and subjected to a process of repeated recompressions by cycling through six standard QuickTime settings. Like mold on a slice of bread, with each recompression colorful artifacts of mal-interpolation appeared and grew. Mimicking the practices of Fordism I produced over 878 deviations of the 1895 original movie. This 13-minute re-edit consists of 29 of the 878 differently distorted movies that articulate the process of the movie’s digital contamination. This edit uses 16 different recompressed and degraded audio samples from Eisenstein’s film October with the Shostakovich musical score and sound effects. The audio was then processed through custom software to apply a left to right panning pulsation at a frequency of 9 hertz. Structurally these image and sound samples are reversed resulting in a movement from irregularly patterned to near intelligibility – instead of leaving the factory the workers return and occupy it. For me, applying this process to one of the first films ever made was an attempt to reverse engineer the reification of the original film while fantasizing, through the sound track, a resetting of the Communist Revolution.

-- Les LeVeque 

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Brooklyn, NY

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