2006 | 33mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal, Gary Ward, Zen Marie and Thomas Sykora
Project Director: Michelle Williams Gamaker

Genre: Documentary
Multi-lingual with English subtitles

Can paternalism survive a globalised economy?

This film explores multinational shoe company Bata’s impact on individual lives and their surroundings. The film’s aesthetic, shifting from site to site and shot to shot, offers pockets as a visual version of the bubble that was the Bata colony itself. The characters are all connected to that past. They guide the viewers through the merging of past and present in memory. The film’s colouration also evokes this mixture.

The idyll of living and working together is obsolete. This is a tale of colonisation, hierarchy, and the politics surrounding the work of individuals whose lives became entwined in a global vision. Tensions between parties in labor conflicts come to the surface. In a highly globalised world, the paternalistic idea of a company that provides workers with not only the monetary means to support themselves, but also with a “village” formerly called “colony” that combines housing, education, health care, and leisure facilities, seems positively utopian and quaint.

Here is the link to the film:

Film festivals and exhibitions:
- Cine Tonalá, Retrospectiva Fílmica Mieke Bal, 21 January 2015
- U-Theatre, Studio, University of Utrecht, Postcolonial Initiative, February 21, 2012-02-22
- Exhibition “Exstranjerías”, curated by Néstor García Canclini and Andrea Giunta, MUAC (Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporanea) México Ciudad, January 28 – April 30, 2012 (with catalogue)
- Exhibition “Towards the Other,” curated by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits. Saint Petersburg, Russia, Museum of the History of Saint Petersburg, Peter and Paul Fortress. October 10-29, 2011 (with catalogue)
- Exhibition “The Last Frontier / La última frontera: Video works by Mieke Bal, in collaboration with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Others,” Curated by Miguel Ángel Hernández Navarro, February 3 - March 29, 2011 (with catalogue)
- “Stories from Places and Times Distantly Close.” Contemporary Art Society, Vancouver, Canada, November 21, 2009 – January 16, 2010
- “Anti-Ekonomija Života” film program, Belgrade, Serbia, July 16–21, 2007
- Bucharest Biennale 3. In “Dis-economy of Life” program. Bucharest, Romania, June 21–25, 2007
- “Novas Imagens Urbanas.” In “Art-e-conomy” program. Incrivel Club, Lisbon, Portugal, March 8–10, 2007
- In “Art-e-conomy” program, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia, February 12, 2007
- Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa. In “Art-e-conomy” program. Venice, Italy, February 7, 2007
- Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, Hungary, November 15, 2006
- Vtape, Toronto, Canada, November 5, 2006
- Studio Dauhaus, Sofia, Bulgaria, November 4, 2006
- Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, October 27 – November 9, 2006