The Unmovable Mover

by Alessandra Leta

The Unmovable Mover is a speculative reconstruction of a fictitious past, that of a small industrial complex in 1960s Middle Europe, as it was never portrayed. In fact, the series conceptually and aesthetically builds on several black and white photographs found and collected by the artist over the years. Diverse photographs, whose provenance remains unknown. Through a crafted narrative that seamlessly weaves together the photographical documents with images taken in 2022 and 2023, and by means of speculative storytelling, the project seeks to recreate a detailed history behind an imagined context, that of a factory, constructing a seemingly authentic yet entirely fabricated private past. The title of the series is a play on Aristotle’s concept of the “unmoved mover”, which refers to the prime, unchanging source that sets all things into motion without being moved itself, the ultimate cause and explanation for the motion and change being observed in the world. The work draws parallels with the capital being the driving force that fuels and propels various elements within society, while not being inherently affected by the fluctuations it generates. Past century factories, as industrial signposts, have also played a tremendous role in urbanisation, migration, and the emergence of distinct working-class identities. The cultural landscape around factories, from the architecture to the social dynamics within production communities, reflects the broader societal impact of the capitalist system. The Unmovable Mover visually reinterprets the connections and disconnections between management, labourers, and the finished products within these centres. The story develops in a fragmentary manner, questioning the ability to reconstruct a reliable recounting of the past. As a result, the image-document is here proposed as a convergence point for reality and fiction to be activated and reinterpreted in multiple directions. In this way, the project also prompts reflections on the malleability of memory, notions of authenticity, and the sincerity of photographic representations.