Primero de Mayo (la ciudad-fábrica)

Marcelo Expósito

First of May (the City-Factory) is the first piece 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 is a video that, at a first level, articulates a 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.

Marcelo Expósito explores the clues that lead to an understanding of the passage from fordism to post-fordism. He bases his research 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 precarity.

The other side of the new modes of exploitation of labour is enacted in this video by the experience of the Milan collective Chainworkers. This collective maintains 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). This piece, which oscillates 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, offers the viewer a very complete picture of some of the most important contemporary transformations and of the new tensions and forms of conflict that these transformations are generating.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Primero de Mayo (la ciudad-fábrica)
  • Direction: Marcelo Expósito
  • Production: Marcelo Expósito, BIG Torino 2002, 3. Berlin Bienniale für Zeitgenössische Kunst.. 2004.
  • Duration: 01:01:23
  • Languages: English - Italian - Spanish
  • Subtitles: English - Spanish
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyleft