An Attempt to Devour Time (after Chaplin's Modern times)
Moving Image piece, 2018
3 minutes, 32 seconds
Charlie Chaplin performance by Annie Goliath and drumming performance by the composer Blue Astronaut.
This moving image piece investigates how different forms of technologies change our relationship to our virtual and mortal bodies, the labour they produce and our sense of time – through re-interpreting the Billows Feeding Machine scene from Charlie Chaplin's movie Modern Times (1936). This piece aims to highlight differences and similarities between the past and present-day such as: by using fitness-tracking apps, the quantification and efficiency fetishes of Taylorism become the logic by which we understand our body’s movement and the data it produces, similarly enslaving us to our productivity pulse which can always be improved yet also transforming our bodies into alienated, corporate property. Furthermore present-day female workers are able to gain employment in job roles that were in the past only available to men, yet they must still contend with the thorny issue of unequal pay. As challenging diseases of the 21st century are burnout syndrome and depression – often a result of the increased stress and performance pressure at work within the digital age – this piece highlights the problematic aspect of technology and labour in terms of automation, digital interruption and an overall sense of dehumanisation.