by Maryam Jafri
A new video work by Maryam Jafri considers the changing nature of labour in today's globalised society.
In 2001, in an unnamed Asian country, a man known as F.R., was given $700 USD by his father and told to make something of himself. F. R. founded a multi-million dollar clandestine company that secretly exports fetish wear to the West. The dozens of mostly female workers believe themselves to be sewing body bags for the US military in Iraq, jackets for psychiatric patients and props for circus animals.
Avalon combines documentary footage from the factory with staged scenes, shot on a purpose built film set at Picture This, speculating on the end users of the products. The staged scenes, based upon extensive research and interviews with real life persons, present an actor playing a client of a dungeon, undergoing a role-play session purporting to provide intense psychological experiences.
Avalon takes the story of F.R. as the point of departure for a complex meditation on the links between affect, labour and commodity under contemporary global conditions. Juxtaposing the world of the stage with the world of the factory, and performativity with production, the film probes the different but interlocking forms that work takes today, from the production of goods to the production of subjectivity.
Maryam Jafri is an artist working in video, performance and photo/text.
Join us for a lunchtime conversation in the Studio and hear Maryam Jafri discuss her most recent work, 'Avalon', with Helen Cammock, artist and
Avalon, commissioned and produced by Picture This, is on view at Manifesta 9 The European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Genk, Belgium this summer.
Maryam Jafri is interviewed by Luigi Fassi in the current issue of Mousse magazine in which she discusses her recent Picture This commission Avalon.
Avalon, commissioned and produced by Picture This, is currently on view as part of Taipei Biennial 2012