Mika Rottenberg, Dough (2006)
'Once Upon a Time' is an exhibition featuring 6 international artists who are adapting modern fairy tales through video art. My favorite was 'Dough' by Mika Rottenberg who created a fable where labourers in an assembly line use their bodily excretions to operate the ‘sweatshop’. The installation consists of a box-like cabin with no visible opening propped against the wall and there’s a movie fan hanging over it. Once you turn the corner, you enter this tiny room where a video is playing through an square opening connected to the cabin. There’s a claustrophobic effect in that room; the same feeling expressed in the video.
Another artist whose video art dramatizes alienation in an industrial context is Cao Fei. I was deeply moved by her video ‘Whose utopia’ (2006) where the setting is at the OSRAM China Lighting Ltd. factory in the Pearl River Delta.