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 per- formative 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.