March 27th – Mad Stork Cinema: Workers Leaving the Factory


Mad Stork Cinema presentes a screening devoted to the genesis of movies, WORKERS LEAVING THE FACTORY by the Lumiere Brothers! Mad Stork will be screening the original Lumiere piece on film, along with several other works that tackle this moment of origin. Including work by Harun Farocki, Eve Heller, Les Leveque, Ben Russell along with several other Lumiere films and surprises!

Event Details

March 27th, 2013
@ Mad Stork Cinema
Studio 4D / CMB / UT Campus at Dean Keaton and Guadalupe (map / campus building)


La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon by Auguste and Louis Lumiere
46sec / 16mm / silent / 1895
Often referred to as the first film ever made (although Roundhay Garden Scene by Louis Le Prince was made seven years before), the film consists of a single shot of workers leaving the Lumiere photographic goods factory in Lyon-Montplaisir. Originally shot on 35mm, presented in 16mm.

Workers Leaving the Factory by Harun Farocki
36min / digital video / sound / 1995
Workers Leaving the Factory – such was the title of the first cinema film ever shown in public. For 45 seconds, this still-existent sequence depicts workers at the photographic products factory in Lyon, owned by the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière, hurrying, closely packed, out of the shadows of the factory gates and into the afternoon sun. Only here, in departing, are the workers visible as a social group. But where are they going? To a meeting? To the barricades? Or simply home?
These questions have preoccupied generations of documentary filmmakers. For the space before the factory gates has always been the scene of social conflicts. And furthermore, this sequence has become an icon of the narrative medium in the history of the cinema. In his documentary essay of the same title, Harun Farocki explores this scene right through the history of film.
The result of this effort is a fascinating cinematographic analysis in the medium of cinematography itself, ranging in scope from Chaplin’s Modern Times to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Accattone!. Farocki’s film shows that the Lumière brothers’ sequence already carries within itself the germ of a foreseeable social development: the eventual disappearance of this form of industrial labor. –Klaus Gronenborn, Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung (21 November 1995) (via Video Data Bank)

Astor Place by Eve Heller
10min / 16mm / silent / 1997
Passersby at Astor Place in New York City speak silent volumes as they move by the mirrored surface of a diner window. I wanted to capture the unscripted choreography of the street, its dance of gazes and riddle of identities. This film is informed by the work of the Lumiere brothers, with an eye to permeating an authority of the static camera and establishing a question as to who is watching whom. – Eve Heller
This Goffmanesque study of how people perform their identities is an enactment of the urban ballet city theorists have described. – Janine Marchessault

Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) by Ben Russell
8min / 16mm / silent / 2008
“115 years later, a(nother) remake of the Lumiere Brothers pseudo-actuality film La Sortie des usines Lumière. This time around our factory is a job site, a construction site peopled by thousands of Southeast Asian laborers, a neo-Fordist architectural production site that manufactures skyscrapers like so many cars.” – BR

Workers Leaving the Factory – 10 Days That Shook the World by Les Leveque
13min / digital video / sound / 2011
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