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The work Within the Giant’s Belly is a continuation of Margan’s projects dealing with the shifting social values in transition from socialism to capitalism, the condition of work and the commodification of labor within this process. The project analyzes the example of the recently privatized Shipyard 3rd of May in Rijeka, Croatia, an industrial plant deeply embedded in the structures of the city and the economy of the country but marred by the long-time disintegration of socialist state ownership into neoliberal globalized work structures. The privatization also means
closing down many of the work sectors and production lines, as work of this kind is redirected to cheaper labor countries as Croatia approached the EU in 2013. The site of the shipyard was observed as an example of more general phenomena, one that accumulates ‘signs’ enabling one to make a ‘diagnosis’ of a wider social condition. It speaks about the transformation of value of labor and the workers’ alienation from the product of work by examining the symbolical representation of a worker as a historical and political figure through, for example, an analysis of a specific socialist
sculpture.

The poster What A Body Can Do deals with the representation of a work-er by analyzing the socialist sculpture representing the ‘ideal’ worker; a bronze statue standing in front of the shipyard where it was placed in 1965 (made by Croatian sculptor Vinko
Matkovic). The photo-montage print is an intervention to the photograph of this larger than-life sculpture including the digital erasure of the product of the worker’s labor – the vessel – from its hands, with them remaining open and empty.

More Than We Are, a miniature sculpture (found in the shipyard), is a rusty screw-nut made of 3 equal hexagonal parts, one of which appears cleaned, polished and coated with gold. The object addresses the surplus value of work and alienation of labor from its product in the commodity production. It grasps on the ideas of desire and the extra value applied through (art) work.

The series of lambda prints Within the Giant’s Belly captures the work literally ‘dissolving’, by recording the smoke traces produced in the welding process within the shipyard’s production hall. The series forms a unity that can be read as an X-ray of a space by tracing a specific transformation of an immaterial substance.

The video elaborates on the choreography of ship naming actions (baptism), an assignment of great symbolical responsibility and superstition, mostly performed by women. This ceremony entails a public performance of breaking a champagne bottle on a newly built ship, as the last gesture that seals the finished work and launches it into the sea. It is a statement of ownership that releases the product of labor into function; a final act of affirmation of commodity and alienation of work process from its product. The power relations seem to be broken, as the actresses casted for the role appear to be common women, performing the act with gestures of insecurity, seemingly isolated and stripped away from their original purpose.

Camera: Michael Sarcault, Markus Krottendorfer, Luiza Margan
Sound recording and sound design: Daniel Benedek
Video editing: Michael Sarcault, Luiza Margan
Actresses: Hanelore Amirnia, Heidi Barata, Eva Cyba, Frederike Krottendorer, Dinah Marin, Gabriela Schmidt, Edith Spira
Site scout: Laura Nasmyth
Set help: Christoph Freidhöfer
Production support: bm:ukk
2013