Ant Manufactory

Installation: video, rubber, concrete, iron ore


Ant Manufactory is the symbolic name for an industrial department at a quarry responsible for the extraction of iron ore. This department undertakes the most difficult and risky work involved in the delivery of natural materials from the earth’s core to the surface. The largest object in the installation is a human sized wheel from the workers’ track. Work in this industry is a vicious circle: people who are born into workers’ towns inevitably go to work on a carrier, motivated by the guarantee of a stable salary. The promise of economic benefits to the worker and his family then guarantees the future of the industry.

A sculptural model of Wall of Fame in reduced scale manifests the fact that the once all pervasive social symbol of the working class hero has faded. The absence of portraits hanging over this object further underlines this shift.

Contemporary society abandoned the cultivation of the proletarian hero in favor of marginalizing the masses, increasing those without a voice by sequestering them into isolated ghettos. The video work “Anthill” depicts the settlement of “worker ants” and the absence of migration in every new generation. Drawing parallels with the world of insects, similarities emerge in the form of ant parasitism called “slavery.” “Slaves” of ants perform in the nest of the “slaveholder" the same work as they could do in their own nest, thus working for the benefit of someone else's tribe. Only slightly differently do the proletarian masses work for the gain of the few at the top, risking more than others to avoid being crushed under the wheel of an economic system controlled by the political and business elite in the name of their own interests.

"Wheel", rubber, d = 220 cm., installation view PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv
"Wall of Fame", concrete, 80 x 220 x 50 cm

"Anthill", stills from one-channel video, 2:41 mins.