In his new 16mm film Sack Barrow, the British artist Ben Rivers takes as his subject a small, family-run electroplating factory on the outskirts of London. Established in 1931 to provide employment for limbless and disabled ex-servicemen, after many years of struggling to remain a viable business it finally went into liquidation last year. In June 2010, Rivers filmed the factory's last working month, later returning to film its empty spaces following its closure.
A 'sack barrow' is an L-shaped, two-wheeled handcart, used for moving bulky or heavy burdens. In employing this phrase as the title of his film, Rivers evokes a primitive technology which enables humans to deal more easily with objects, and points towards a larger and more sophisticated set of dematerialisations in contemporary society.
Ben Rivers (b. 1972, Somerset, UK) lives and works in London. He is the winner of the 2011 Baloise Art Prize.