New Poetics of Labor: 2-channel HD video, 11 minutes, 2018
Initiated and directed by: Cristina Velásquez
Video and sound editing: Nechama Winston
Camera: Cristina Velásquez, Nechama Winston, Paulina Álvarez
Sound recording: Nechama Winston
Production: Paulina Álvarez, Andres Lebrun, Juana Álvarez
NPoL’s video documents a performance with local workers in front of a convenient store in Medellín. Beginning with the phrase, “Pare la escoba y parchemos con una pola...,” members of the community were invited to sit with NPoL and have a beer in the middle of the workday. Thirty-two workers accepted to stop for a moment and sit down with NPoL artists in the middle of the day during their work shifts. During this time, NPoL and the workers shared genuine conversations about daily routines of labor, finding a common ground.
One result of this pause and reflection was the final collection of 32 used brooms that belonged to the workers, which were sometimes exchanged for new brooms that NPoL had at hand to distribute. These were displayed in the exhibition Al camello camello y al amor amor, which was up nearby where this event took place, a few months later. The display poses questions, such as: what may happen if workers stop and reflect on the act of inaction itself? what examining labor might mean for resistance, especially in developing countries? what reflecting on this reality as a worker might mean for the artist, and similarly, what thinking of herself/himself as an artist might mean for a waged worker?
This was not only an act of intervention by the artists, but a moment in time where the community displayed an unusual amount of openness and warmth as they revealed details about the economic and social reality of their city.