Unboxing the Future
Anna Witt
Artist Statement
In her three-channel video Unboxing the Future, Anna Witt prompts a framework of discussion around automation, artificial intelligence and possible post-work utopian ideals with a group of workers in the Japanese city of Toyota in Aichi Prefecture, both assembly-line workers and engineers and developers. The major employer in the city is the Toyota car company. Its main manufacturing facilities are here, and 50% of its workers are robots. The dialogue revolves around personal experiences, philosophical concerns and hopes for the future, and probes at the real-life social structures and working systems and models that will be brought into question. In the video the discussions are intercut with the group’s assembly-line workers smoothly miming the movements they perform at work and footage of symbiotic robotic arms at work on cars. In a hierarchical inversion, the blue-collar workers teach the white-collar workers the movements to then perform in formation. These body movements are a crucial part of Witt’s working method that create a direct physical understanding of the topic. In an extension of the group’s discourse on adapting after labour, the possible realities of leisure time and new forms of creativity are explored with musical instruments and a playful exercise deconstructing and rebuilding work uniforms. Unboxing the Future premiered at the 2019 Aichi Triennale.
The work was created in Toyota City in Japan and is dealing about an urgent contemporary topic, the future of labour and automatisation.
Artist Bio
Anna Witt, born in 1981 in Germany, lives and works in Vienna. In the last few years, she took part in numerous exhibitions in Austria, and internationally. Her work had been shown at Aichi Triennale 19; Secession Vienna; 1st Vienna Biennale at MAK; Arts Maebashi; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Austrian Cultural Forum New York and at MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, among others and she had solo exhibitions at Museum Belvedere, Vienna; Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, and Gallery Tanja Wagner, Berlin. She took part in Lux/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, London; 6. Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art and Manifesta 7 in North Italy and is the winner of Otto Mauer Prize, 2018; the Art Prize ‘Future of Europe’ in 2015; BC21 Art Award in 2013 and Art Prize Columbus Art Foundation in 2008.