Synopsis“I would like to propose a film that contributes to the concept of work. That compares the work of a traditional society, like in Africa, in an early industrial society such as India, and in a highly developed industrial society, in Europe or Japan. The object of comparison is to be the work in building houses.
Houses to live in.” This was written in Harun Farocki’s exposé from 2003 for a documentary project.
“After initial research - I had the idea of using the brick, its manufacture and its processing as the object of comparison. We were looking for a great variety of uses for bricks and we were looking for manufacturing processes that would possibly do away with bricks.” In India there was a brickworks
whose threading machine was from the 1930s when Gandhi was organizing the anti-colonialist protest. The installation in northern France was operated by Moroccans who housed in barracks like POWs or forced labourers. In Mumbai apartment houses were built much like they are in Europe. No hand touched the products that came out of the highly mechanized factories in Germany. In Burkina Faso Farocki followed the communal work on a hospital ward and a school building with his camera: “I’ve never in my life been able to observed such a strange process so closely.” The film does without commentary; there are only indications of the places and a few explanations offered in subtitles.