Patterns Against Workers

In a darkened room at night, the camera is aimed at the screen of a smartphone. A hand swipes and scrolls, corresponding to the vertical and horizontal relationships textile fabric, through stored and digitally accessible images and video sequences that accompany the spoken text. In the same way that the camera scans the surface of a duvet cover with its optical eye in a dim room, it records the body parts of workers in the electric light of a bedding factory. Meter by meter, they feed textile material to the sewing machine in the same, fixed movements. Just as the film’s timewise progression is counted by a clock, production in the factories runs day and night....  

The film essay reflects the radical change from the development of the structures (patterns) of hand-woven textiles to industrial textile production, which is based on computer-controlled organizational structures (patterns) and follows the logic of mass production. While the hand-woven fabrics and fabric patterns of the Bauhaus weavers were still the result of joint experiments with material, color, and weave in order to develop lively haptic and optic effects, and while the hand loom was the weaver’s instrument, the introduction of programmable looms then made any textile pattern weavable, calculable, and retrievable in the shortest possible time.  

The orchestrated beat of the machines, whose vibration, rhythm and noise imprint themselves on the body, haunts the workers themselves as they fall into sleep. The numerical thinking that underlies the construction of a textile was adopted to develop computers, which are now used to calculate, monitor, and optimize production processes. A network of factories and information flows covers the surface of the earth.  

PATTERNS AGAINST WORKERS interweaves textual and visual levels, reflecting on itself as a medium by focusing on the haptic aspect (as a main feature of the textile) and on the touch of hands with surfaces, well aware that its technical optics and digital recording technology itself originates in the development of information technology. (Ulla Rossek)  

Translation: John Wojtowicz

Orig. Title
Patterns Against Workers
34 min
Olena Newkryta
Experimental, Documentary
Orig. Language
English, german
Olena Newkryta
Concept & Realization
Olena Newkryta
Sound Design
Sara Pinheiro
Colour Correction
Susi Dollnig
Additional camera
Marianne Borowiec
Miriam Stoney
Supported by
Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlicher Dienst und Sport / Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Land Oberösterreich Kunst und Kultur
Oksana Danielova, Haseda Golubovic, Ayse Kaya, Regina Kiesenhofer, Mira Klug, Ingeborg Stummer
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Singapore International Film Festival