Unboxing the Future
10. 11. – 20. 11. 2022
Unboxing the Future

Unboxing the Future

Anna Witt

PYLON-Lab is pleased to present the online screening of Unboxing the Future (2019) by Anna Witt, starting on Thursday, November 10, 2022.

Anna Witt’s performances, in the form of public interventions as well as her video installations, scrutinize the construction of cultural stereotypes and the positioning of the individual within social systems. Her works are situated between fictional re-enactment and documentary staging, representing the problem of subject-formation in relation to political identity, collectivity and civil rights. Sometimes it is the artist herself who is acting; another time she invites strangers, often passersby, to participate.

With impartial interest in her counterparts, Anna Witt creates playful situations and enables communal interaction. Language is often added to the physical actions. Non-verbal just as verbal articulation leads us to think about a fundamentally new definition of our communal coexistence.

Anna Witt (* 1981 in Wasserburg am Inn) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Munich under Monica Bonvicini, Magdalena Jetelová and Asta Gröting.

Her work was part of several group exhibitions and festivals, such as Manifesta 7 (2008), Trentino, South Tyrol, Berlin Biennale (2010), Lux/ICA Biennial of Moving Images, London (2012), Emscherkunst 13 - Ruhrtriennale (2013), MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taiwan (2013), NGBK, Berlin (2013), Vienna Biennale, Wien (2015), Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (2018) and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg (2018).

Selected solo exhibitions include Public Emotions - Galerie, Tanja Wagner, Berlin (2014), Infinite Regress - Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen, Schweiz (2016) and Human Flag, Museum Belvedere 21, Wien (2018).

Witt received the 2010 Austria State-Scholarship for Video- and Media-Arts Austria (Staatsstipendium für Video- und Medienkunst Österreich), the 2012 Bavaria State-Award for Performance (Bayerischer Staatsförderpreis für Performance), the European Future Art Award 2018 (Kunstpreis Europas Zukunft, GfZK Leipzig), the 2020 Austrian state prize “Outstanding Artist Award”, video and media art section, among others.

The online screening is part of PYLON-Lab's program COLLATERAL EXTINCTION and funded by Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.

Unboxing the Future

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 inter- cut 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.

Following a series of video works concerned with new forms of labour, Anna Witt’s continuous vein of participatory and performative concepts seek to create open spaces for alternative ways of thinking. In mining historical, contemporary and future means of labour, she draws out unhindered utopian manifestations from participants and builds a new frame of reference for viewers.

Unboxing the Future was premiered at the 2019 Aichi Triennale.


3-Kanal HD Video, Farbe, Ton 29:09 min., 2019