FIRED

2007

One channel video, DV, color, sound
Duration: 7’51”

“Fired” shows a part of a in-company training, in which managers learn how to lay off employees. The first part of the video is a role-playing scenario, showing a conversation between a manager and an employee. The employee is played by an actress, and the manager is supposed to learn how to embody the right behaviour towards real, future employee they may need to fire.  In the second part of the video, the psychologist leading the training explains what the employee is experiencing in the given situation. Instead of the term “dismissal”, the manager uses the term “mobility” in the conversation. The employee confronts him during the conversation with that term. The question whether this is a real or a staged situation persists and is ultimately resolved only at the end when it becomes clear that it is actually a “real” training situation. The viewer tends to identify with the fired employee while that employee turns out to be the trainer teaching how to fire people. “Fired” shows the training culture in all its absurdity. The consequence of the training of behavior, (implying a beforehand classification of behavior, “the good and the bad example”), is a codification of behavior. This work explores how efficiency-oriented behaviour, influenced by economy and business, is codified and added to earlier lessons about moral and political behaviour from one’s upbringing.

“Fired” is supported by Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, The Netherlands.