Werker 2 A Gestural History of the Young Worker
Spector Books, 2023, Softcover, 95 pages, 32 × 22 cm
Drawing inspiration from the Worker Photography Movement of the 1920s, which saw photographers collaborating with workers and trade unions to visualize societal and political conditions from a working-class perspective, Werker Collective reconsiders the relationship between labour and its photographic representation — in the past and in the present. Werker 2: A Gestural History of the Young Worker takes as its starting point the representation of the working body in the former Soviet Union (USSR), where workers were depicted with strong, athletic bodies and resolute expressions on their faces. The publication combines imagery from Soviet magazines, propaganda, and archives, with documents from the Werker Archief in Amsterdam with which it aims to interrogate the normative visualization and glorification of the worker’s body and the associated oppression of non-normative bodies. The themes explored include gender, feminism, and queerness.