First of May (The City-Factory)

A videotape by Marcelo Expósito.

61 minutes, 2004. Filmed in Torino and Milano.
Italian, english and german, with english texts and subtitles.

Produced with the help of Biennale BIG Torino 2002 and 3. Berlin Bienniale für Zeitgenössische Kunst.

Film credits.

First of May (the City-Factory) is the first work of Entre sueños (Between Dreams), a series devoted to the portrayal of the rise of the global movement and of the new metropolitan social movements, in relation to the contemporary urban transformations and the archetypal and historical representations of the modern city. This film articulates, at a first level, a critical dialogue with the way in which the Italian political philosopher Paolo Virno uses the metaphor of virtuosity to represent the condition of both contemporary labour forms and new political action.

The film explores a few clues that lead to an understanding of the passage from fordism to post-fordism. It focuses on Lingotto, Fiat’s historic factory in Torino, which today has been transformed into a gigantic multifunctional centre. The image of this metamorphosis is the axis of a visual narration with overlaps urban change, the revolution in the productive processes and the radical transformation of the figures of labour, whose most powerful image is that of the dissolution of the industrial proletariat and the emergence of a confusing new social precariat.

The other side of the new modes of exploitation of labour is enacted in this video by the experience of the Milan collective Chainworkers, a collective that has pioneered in Europe a discourse and a set of practices whose key tools for the subversion of the metropolitan space are self-organisation, direct communicative action and the reformulation of MayDay.

The video is built with semiautonomous narrative blocks, comprising a montage of diverse material: film archives of different kinds, texts, interviews, music (Bach, Glenn Gould, Luigi Nono, Ultrared), oscillating between the tradition of urban symphonies (it cites Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 Berlin, Symphony of a great city), modern political documentary, music-clip and agit-prop.


Distribution and online viewing: Hamaca Media & Video Art Distribution.

DVD purchase for private and non-commercial public uses: Traficantes de sueños.


See also about this video (English and German):

Gerald Raunig, “Modifying the Grammar. Paolo Virno’s Works on Virtuosity and Exodus“.

Gerald Raunig, “Die Grammatik verändern“.

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