Elke Marhöfer

Video, 2007, 51 min.

Elke Marhöfer explores historic-cultural and political-analytical social phenomena, as e.g. protest movements of minorities (feminists, sixtyeighters, postcolonialists) focussing on the identity and on the sovereignty of the individuals. In this context she reflects the question of representaion of political art and the attended danger, “that political claims could be transformed into consumable products? (Elke Marhöfer). How can politics of desire look like, politics in which Negri's and Hardt's multitude could exist?

Elke Marhöfer‘s video, determined by the working processes it accompanies, shows peasants harvesting cotton in Burkina Faso, together with a recording of conversations about the work, everyday life, the harvest, the expected income and the unstable market prices. Cotton-picking – a metaphor for slave labour and exploitation – is observed from a variety of camera perspectives which, with the snippets of conversation, culminate in the expression of worry about the price of cotton and its local and global dependence on the market. At the end of the film it turns out that one of the cotton harvesters is a union trade president, that is informing the pesants about the economic conditions of cotton production, trying to support them and giving advice to use natural fertilizers to get out of the dependence of buying the expensive artificial fertilizer.

The imposed systems of distribution endanger the people‘s existence. Under the conditions of the global economy the world bank and the IWF are dictating the production of agricultural products in poor countries like Burkina Faso. Credits are allowed only for cotton growing, promoting a monocultural agricutural cultivation. These credits can be repayed very hardly, as the cotton prices are kept down because of the high subsidized american cotton.

Economic power mechanisms, preventing intentionally that emerging markets can liberate themselves from these circulation systems, are pursuing a capital based form of colonialistic exploitation.