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Exhibitions: Marxism Today / Phil Collins (2010)

Phil Collins’ work in film, video and photography often provides a platform for the overlooked or the disenfranchised. Shining a light on what is generally perceived as the losing side in the political and social upheavals of the past two decades, marxism today is an ongoing project that began by following the fortunes of Marxist-Leninist teachers in the former Communist East Germany.

Collins’ short film marxism today (prologue) (2010) mixed contemporary interviews with the ex-teachers alongside archive material, to form the centrepiece of this exhibition, which also included a new video in which a number of concepts central to Marxist economic analysis are introduced to a new generation of students. Relocating from the start of this school year to Manchester, where Engels researched The Condition of the Working Class in England, Collins’ project prompted a wider reflection on the city’s formative place in the history of radical thinking. Initiating a series of interactions with nearby schools and the local public, it also enquired into the continuing relevance of Marxist ideas in the present day.

marxism today was a co-commission by Film and Video Umbrella, Cornerhouse, Abandon Normal Devices, Berliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD, and Berlin Biennale. Produced by Shady Lane Productions.