in Bitterfeld-


© Jan Wenzel

The artists Jan Wenzel and Marit Herrmann have created a photographic essay from the photographic inventory of the Buna works that describes the industrial process as a tragic obsession, as a will to produce that has conditioned people since the early 19th century and is deeply anchored in our emotional structure without us being aware of its consequences.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs from the Buna Werke collection are stored in the Merseburg State Archives. They document the progress of construction projects, brigade evenings, scientific investigations, damage assessment after accidents, Helene Weigel’s visit to the Kulturhaus, the lives of Polish contract workers, the Christmas party at the company kindergarten, suicides – over 50 years of 20th century industrial history. The photographic essay confronts these images with texts that move from the concrete to something more fundamental: The industrial process itself. A process that shapes everything social, as all aspects of life are organized around and through it. The search for insights into the industrial process is linked to the lamentation of the failure of the socialist form of society, which was unable to conceive of a wealth of time and relationships beyond industrial processes. And secondly, a lament for the failure of the species, which cannot find a way out of an industrial logic that is destroying the planet.

In cooperation with Spector Books.

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