Produced at & supported by: Design Investigations (ID2), University of Applied Arts Vienna
Video-Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Felix Lenz
Video Co-Directors & Story Editors: Angela Neubauer, Eszter Zwickl
Sound Design & Mix: Lisa-Maria Hollaus
Voice Editors: Ganael Dumreicher, Lorenz Embacher
Interviewees: Jin [name altered], Seong-Ho Jeon, Seung-Gyu Jo, Dr. Richard Clapp
Interpreter: Semi Kwon
Screen Printing Specialist: Ute Huber Leierer
Special Thanks: SHARPS [activist group]
Dismantling the deceptively pristine image of the high-tech industry, The Cleanroom Paradox unveils the systemic suppression of information on occupational and toxic hazards at semiconductor production sites.
Jin is a former Samsung factory worker whose employer failed to acknowledge the lack of adequate precautionary health measures during work procedures. After her time in the industry, she is left alone to deal with the drastic consequences: a kidney cancer diagnosis.
The work comprises a gradually disintegrating, custom print of Jin and a video documenting the portrait’s creation. The video-essay is superimposed with her own as well as experts’ personal stories, shedding light on the industry’s latent practices.
Interweaving stories and fibres, the used ink is made of chemically dissolved smartphones. Analogous to the industry’s etching processes, the toxic agent will corrode the print over time, skinning a surface in which’s lower layers Jin’s story is already inscribed.
But this is not only a bodily exposure. The toxicity hidden behind the many steps in semiconductor manufacturing and the extent and effect of the labour necessary to shape high-tech products shifts focus towards the main actors – towards the middle-west – demanding responsibility.
Fates like Jin’s are not isolated cases and can be traced across the industry in the Eastern as well as Western Hemisphere.
Felix Lenz is a research-led artist, designer and filmmaker based in Vienna. His analytic investigations in geopolitical, ecological, and technological matters translate in meticulous visual outcomes, installations and strategies. His video works and installations have been exhibited at various international museums, festivals and biennials including the Beijing Art and Technology Biennale, Ars Electronica Festival, Digital Art Festival Zurich, European Forum Alpbach, the London Design Biennale, the Istanbul Design Biennale and the Vienna Biennale, and are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna. His works were awarded an honorable mention from the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, were nominated for the STARTS prize, and received an honorary mention at Prix Ars Electronica. Lenz’s works have been profiled in the New York Times and various other journals. Besides his independent practice, he worked at the renown design studios Formafantasma in Amsterdam and Studio Folder in Milan. He also worked as guest-researcher and -lecturer at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Lenz was invited as residing artist at the Viennese artist space »Never at Home« and the Iranian contemporary art platform »Paadmaan«. He currently finishes his Masters at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. More can be found on his solar-powered website under .
Angela Neubauer is a young Austrian-Chinese artist based in Vienna. Driven by curiosity, she is creating artistic work that investigates present day issues and speculative futures, weaving in research fueled by her interests in social and natural sciences. Her latest projects mainly render the emerging concepts and ideas into video works and animated films, which are aimed to engage, inform, and raise questions through design and storytelling. She is currently studying Design Investigations at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her works were exhibited at the Ars Electronica Festival, Angewandte Festival and Digital Art Festival Zurich, received an honorary mention at Prix Ars Electronica and a nomination for the STARTS Prize.
Eszter Noémi Zwickl is a Vienna-based Hungarian creative. She is mostly focusing on social, cultural, and political issues through the tools of art and design. Her works were exhibited at Labor Gallery in Budapest, Digital Art Festival in Zurich, Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Paadmaan Video Event in Teheran, and were showcased in the Dutch Design Week 2021 in Eindhoven. She published a video essay of her work called “Is this a Compliment?” in The Lazy Women magazine. Other works of hers received a honorary mention at Prix Ars Electronica and were nominated for the STARTS Prize. She gained work experience at the studio “Tervhivatal” in Budapest, Hungary. Currently, she is studying industrial design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.