by Maryam Jafri


  • 1Film still from Avalon
  • 2Film still from Avalon
  • 3Production photo from Avalon
  • 4Avalon installed at Picture This, 2011

Film still from Avalon


A new video work by Maryam Jafri considers the changing nature of labour in today's globalised society.

In 2001, in an unnamed Asian country, a man known as F.R., was given $700 USD by his father and told to make something of himself. F. R. founded a multi-million dollar clandestine company that secretly exports fetish wear to the West. The dozens of mostly female workers believe themselves to be sewing body bags for the US military in Iraq, jackets for psychiatric patients and props for circus animals.

Avalon combines documentary footage from the factory with staged scenes, shot on a purpose built film set at Picture This, speculating on the end users of the products. The staged scenes, based upon extensive research and interviews with real life persons, present an actor playing a client of a dungeon, undergoing a role-play session purporting to provide intense psychological experiences.

Avalon takes the story of F.R. as the point of departure for a complex meditation on the links between affect, labour and commodity under contemporary global conditions. Juxtaposing the world of the stage with the world of the factory, and performativity with production, the film probes the different but interlocking forms that work takes today, from the production of goods to the production of subjectivity.



Year 2011
Duration 11 minutes 40 seconds
Original format Multiple format HD
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Audio Yes
Colour/B&W Colour


Commissioned by Picture This with support from The Danish Arts Council.

Related Items:

Maryam Jafri

Maryam Jafri is an artist working in video, performance and photo/text.

Maryam Jafri Artists Talk
23 September, 1.30pm

Join us for a lunchtime conversation in the Studio and hear Maryam Jafri discuss her most recent work, 'Avalon', with Helen Cammock, artist and

Maryam Jafri's Avalon in Manifesta 9

Avalon, commissioned and produced by Picture This, is on view at Manifesta 9 The European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Genk, Belgium this summer.

Maryam Jafri interview in Mousse

Maryam Jafri is interviewed by Luigi Fassi in the current issue of Mousse magazine in which she discusses her recent Picture This commission Avalon.

Maryam Jafri's Avalon in Taipei Biennial

Avalon, commissioned and produced by Picture This, is currently on view as part of Taipei Biennial 2012