In the yard of Signal, screening The Myth Of The Many In The One by Kennedy Browne
The program of films for the evening on June 14th was composed to provide thoughts on some of the themes and questions raised by the opening of the new facilities of Signal. A center for contemporary art housed in the building of a former textile factory; the city of Malmö which is described as undergoing a transformation from being an industrial town to a hotbed of new knowledgebased economies; a ritual to provide good energies for a new beginning. The films never comented upon this directly, rather by analogies, like the use of storytelling and mythbuilding in economies, for example.
We ended the evening with three old photographs found in the presentation materials of the former textile factories of Malmö. The first one shows a group of women employees exiting the gates of the Kürzel factory, reminiscent of the old Lumière film. The photo was printed in a book celebrating the 50 year jubilee of the factory, in 1945. Ten years later, the factory closed down. 500 employees lost their jobs, most of them were women. The industries of Malmö, at first dominated by textile and food production, employed mainly women, up until the post-world war II period. After that, the textile factories started shutting down, and women moved to jobs in the public sector. The factory in the photograph now houses the student gallery of the art academy, and various other art spaces.
The second photograph shows the ruins of an old factory half-preserved inside the walls of a much larger space built up around it. The MYA corporation expanded their businesses in the late forties. Production work carried on around the ruin even while it was being torn down. Later, the factory of MAB would be replaced by the high end shopping centre Hansacompagniet, while the factory of MYA would be replaced by the Mobilia shopping centre – both former sites of production, now dedicated sites of consumption.
The third photograph shows the mess hall, the cantina, of MAB. The wall in the background is covered by a fresco painting made by artist Lars Norrman. This type of wall painting, typically portraying workers in mid-production, also fills the purpose of celebrating work. Rather than being a documentary piece, it idealizes: it proposes that we are all working, together, building a better future.