In December 2018, Tytus Szabelski worked on the assembly line at an Amazon fulfilment centre near Poznań, Poland, where parcels are selected, packed and shipped. In the series AMZN, the artist conducts a micro-scale examination of operations at one of the largest companies in the world.
The video Lights-Out Factory exposes an Amazon myth – that work at the fulfilment centre is machine- assisted and effortless – by highlighting the reality of heavy, repetitive human labour. It presents the stories of both successful and failed attempts by workers to support one another, against a backdrop of packages gliding across the screen.
Local authorities support multinational corporations investing in their areas by not only giving them tax exemptions, but also naming streets after them – elevating companies to the level of local heroes. Szabelski perceives this practice as a form of self- colonisation. In his work Amazon Street (Process of Self-De-Colonization) he counters this tendency symbolically by removing the Amazon Street sign from its location in Kobierzyce (south-western Poland) and presenting it in the gallery space.
The third part of the work included in this exhibition is the online archive AMZN.vnlab.org.
Video, 8 minutes 20 seconds
Music: Hubert Karmiński; voice-over: Anna Niestatek
Amazon Street (Process of Self-De-Colonization)
Street sign, found object
UX & development: Rytm Digital; produced by Visual Narratives
Laboratory (vnLab); created in cooperation with Katarzyna Boratyn and
Tytus Szabelski-Różniak― Artist
Tytus Szabelski-Różniak – born in 1991, photographer and visual artist. Graduated journalism and social communication at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, and photography at the University of Arts in Poznań, where he received PhD degree in 2021. Finalist of Polish and international contests for best art master’s diploma work (e.g StartPoint Prize 2016 in Prague, Czechia). Laureate of Konrad Pustoła memory scholarship for socially engaged photographer (2017), awarded with Visegrad Fund Sound and Visual Arts Residency (Trafó Gallery, Budapest, 2021) and Biennale Warszawa residency (2020). Participant of Parallel – European Photo Based Platform (2019–2020) and Visual Narratives Laboratory at Łodź Filmschool, where he currently works. Former editor of online art and photography magazines “Magenta”, “Postmedium” and “BLOK”. His works are part of Arsenal Municipal Gallery in Poznań art collection and Raffles Europejski Hotel in Warsaw art collection. His main fields of interest are landscape, man-made infrastructures, labour, the digital and all the various ways those subjects are shaped and relate to politics, capital and ideology.