Ali Kazma

Obstructions / Automobile Factory


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Not on display

Ali Kazma born 1971
Video, projection, colour and sound (stereo)
Duration: 10min
Purchased with funds provided by the Middle East and North Africa Acquisitions Committee 2014


Obstructions / Automobile Factory 2012 is a single channel colour video with sound, lasting ten minutes and presented as a large-scale projection in a dark room. The video was created in 2012 and is part of Turkish-born artist Ali Kazma’s Obstructions series, which comprises fifteen videos made between 2005 and 2012. The series explores human activities in relation to labour and the conditions of work. In 2010 the series was awarded the Nam June Paik Award by the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Foundation in the field of media art. Two other videos from the series are also in Tate’s collection: Jean Factory 2008 (Tate T14123) and Taxidermist 2009 (Tate T14124).

Automobile Factory reveals the industrial mechanisms and human labour involved in the car manufacturing industry. The artist examines the complex technological systems of car assemblage and the industrial processes that take place inside a factory in Germany. The viewer is taken on a journey through the movements of advanced machinery that relentlessly function with orderly perfection to produce one car after another. The minimally designed but technologically complex landscape of the factory, the rational and clean architecture of its interior spaces and the functional zones of the diverse assembly processes are presented through a series of carefully choreographed moments that also characterise the relationship between man and machine in this particular setting.

Despite the industrial aspect of its subject matter, the video is carefully crafted. It combines powerful representations of movement and intense synchronicity, injected with calm moments that reflect a more natural environment and contribute to a sense of serenity. In contrast to the frenetic environment of the clothing manufacturing industry as seen in Jean Factory, in Automobile Factory Kazma creates an almost meditative and atmospheric work. The video distills a sense of harmony out of an industrial environment where the tension between the co-existence of man and machines is enacted as a continuous form of endless serialisation and productivity. Automobile Factory explores not only the symbolic environment of the factory and the mechanical processes that take place within it, but also records and documents the actions and symbiotic atmosphere experienced in practices of highly mechanised labour. The images intricately weave together the multiple layers of history and progress, collectivity, experience and aesthetics that exist within a system of intense automated production, presenting a document of a contemporary industrial condition.

Along with other films from the Obstructions series, Jean Factory can be seen as a complex study of the often elaborate and demanding physical acts required to carry out the processes of production, from the grand scale of an automobile production line to the relentless speed of clothing manufacture to the quiet precision of the taxidermist’s craft. Describing the works, Kazma has explained that: ‘The different combinations and juxtapositions of videos reveal their own dynamics. Since each video has a different length, you never see the same combination of images, just as you never hear the same sound track twice over. And of course, with more videos the complexity grows exponentially.’ (Quoted in Gourmelon 2010, accessed 18 July 2013.)

Obstructions / Automobile Factory exists in an edition of five plus two artist’s proofs; Tate’s copy is number two in the main edition.

Further reading
Ali Kazma interviewed by Mo Gourmelon, Ali Kazma: Temporality, A Pivotal Position of the Work, 2010, Francesca Minini Gallery, Milan website,, accessed 18 July 2013.
Ali Kazma, Işler/Travaux/Works, 2005–2010, Galeri Nev, exhibition catalogue, Istanbul and Galerie Analix Forever, Geneva 2011.
In It, Ali Kazma – Paul Ardenne, exhibition catalogue, C24 Gallery, New York 2012.

Vassilis Oikonomopoulos
July 2013

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