For Obscura

Alex GD



« Obsolescence » is a work using digital photography that traces a personal experience as a production operator* in a Belgian company.

The production operator is subject to many executive tasks that he has to formally follow. He collaborates closely with other operators and machines programmed to perform defined tasks.

To be efficient, the operator is lost in a man-machine role and adapted to a linear operation, simple and without errors.

« Obsolescence » is a trace of this experience.

« Obsolescence » tries to « make seen » the traces of Men, as tiny as they are, in a company which aims for an absolute neutrality.

*A production operator, also known as a machine operator, uses equipment to assist with manufacturing, packaging, and other steps along a production line.

The series was built on a classification method. This method is represented by a graphic code in 4 groups ( + ? Indefinable factor) and represented on the image as «Code for the classification of images»:

– The body
– The repetition
– The process
– The mosaic

A title and a description are attached to the 20 images.

Code for images classification

The code represents an operating system for the reproduction of an event (space-time). It is a key to understanding the construction of « Obsolescence » and is directly inspired from the workflow in the corporation.

The code works like a tree where the emphasis is more on the « nodes » (or events). These are crosses between the stems of a classical tree and are represented by black blocks. The code is divided into 4 interrelated groups and under the principle of Russian dolls. In this organization, an indefinable factor * intervenes without belonging to any group.

The 4 groups are:

– the body,

– repetition,

– the procedure,

– Mosaic.

+ Indefinable factor

Identification cards

Identification cards are to be completed by the operator and serve to identify the status of a product in the production chain. Each color corresponds to a specific status. The products go through several different statuses depending on their quality, but they all start and end with a common status. On the bottom line, the operators from left to right: HBN, JMR, AGD(me), GQT.

Group: Body

Back of identification cards

Identification cards are laminated to be reusable. The color traces are due to color markers and solvent. By turning them over, we discover the traces of processes.

Group: Mosaic

Point of intersection of boxes

A photograph of the intersection between several boxes stacked in cube.

Group: Body

Moving crates on shelf

To stack the pallets, the movement must be protocolary.

Group: Process

Operator lockers

Group: Mosaic

Coordinator’s sms


  • Hi A., what is this half shift on saturday ?
  • Hi, I think I forgot to point my exit. I left with S. at the same time.
  • How do you intend to prove it ?
  • You can ask to S. or maybe you can see the last backup if I did one after 21h30
  • Ok Thank you.
    And now you will see all the time I will lose…

Group: Process

Operator’s spirit

Image made from 3 superimposed photographs.
The first is a smartphone photograph of a body hanging in a video game. It has been enlarged and retouched. The other two are 2 trees for a particular position in the company. This post is considered the most complex of all. The operator is systematically underestimated for his work.

Group: Body

Screen of control

This image is a manual composition of 3 control windows on a screen.

Group: Body

Data transfer bar

Photograph taken on a control screen. The « mountains » are an evaluation graph of the transfer speed.

Group: Process

Corridor of engineers

This floor is normally prohibited from access to operators. The photograph was taken at night.

Group: Indefinable factor

Robot arm process

Group: Process

Operator’s arm

Group: All

Operator « PPA » & poem

Group: Body & mosaic

Tasks spread over time

Subdivision of a task into 3 parts over time. The color code green, yellow, red is often used by the coordinator to subdivide an operation over time.

Group: Repetition

Operator input badges

Group: Mosaic

Operator sculpture

Group: repetition

Draft coordinator

Group: Process

Plan of the production area

Group: Body (space)