Oliver Ressler, Austrian artist and co-director (with Dario Azzellini) of Five Factories - Worker Control in Venezuela, will be in Australia in January to host screenings of his new film, followed by discussion.
Ressler's visit is part of the If you see something, say something discussion, exhibition and publishing project, which involves international and Australian artists questioning how we understand the connections between politics and aesthetics.
In their second film about political and social change in Venezuela, after Venezuela from Below, Ressler and Azzellini focus on the industrial sector. The changes in Venezuela's productive sphere are demonstrated with five large companies in various regions: a textile company, an aluminium works, a tomato factory, a cocoa factory and a paper factory. In each, the workers are struggling for different forms of co- or self-management, supported by credits from the government.
"The assembly is basically governing the company", says Rigoberto Lopez from the textile factory Textileros del Tachira, in front of steaming tubs. Coning machine operator Carmen Ortiz summarises the experience: "Working collectively is much better than working for another - working for
another is like being a slave to that other."
The interviewees present insights into ways of alternative organising and models of workers' control. Mechanisms and difficulties of self-organisation are explained, as well as the production processes. The situation in the five factories varies, but they share the common search for better models of production and life.
Ressler will address screenings of Five Factories in Melbourne on January 25, 7pm at Victorian Trades Hall, Lygon St, city, and in Sydney on January 29, 6.30pm, Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, city. Entry is free, but donations are welcome to Venezuela solidarity groups present on the night. The meetings are sponsored by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, the Sydney and Melbourne Bolivarian Circles and the Latin America Solidarity Network. Visit