September 2nd – October 8th
The Point of Production
Marginal Utility is proud to present The Point of Production, a solo exhibition by Edward Kihn.
The Point of Production concerns the rise and fall Marine Transport Workers Local 8 of the radical anticapitalist International Workers of the World (I.W.W. or Wobblies) in Philadelphia from 1913 to 1922. Local 8, the first truly integrated dockworkers Local in the U.S., at its height had a membership of over 4,000 longshoremennot including the thousands of others who joined in major strikes. Because of the Locals influence and its affiliation with the I.W.W., business and government saw it as a particular threat and sought its destruction.
A continuous anamorphic 16mm film loop of the contemporary Philadelphia waterfront serves as the visual ground for four sonic timelines of reports and correspondences of agents who negotiated with, infiltrated, and surveilled Local 8 over the decade or so of its existence.
Each set of reportscovering the years 1913, 1917-1919, 1920, and 1921-1922is delivered through a single directional speaker. Experienced singly, one hears the voices of individual agents as the Local grows and declines. Collectively, these voices layer, evoking the spectral noise of an archive of violence hovering over the contemporary Philadelphia waterfront, a 10-mile stretch of docks (many of them abandoned), condos, tourist spectacle and ruins that once bustled non-stop with productive and militant activity.