Workers Leaving the Googleplex, 2011

Andrew Norman Wilson,
Workers Leaving the Googleplex, 2011
Single-channel HDvideo; 11 minutes 3 seconds
Installation view: Art in the Age of Anxiety
Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020
Courtesy of the artist and Document, Chicago
Photo: Danko Stjepanovic


Andrew Norman Wilson is an artist and writer whose work questions corporate hierarchy and the way it organises labour. Through his video works, he creates narratives that reference historic and contemporary events.

Workers Leaving the Googleplex (2011) investigates a secretive, marginalised class of workers at Google's international corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley. While working at the Googleplex, Wilson noticed a particular class of workers—the yellow-badge-wearing ScanOps workers—whose sole task is to scan books page by page for Google Books. The time these workers leave the Googleplex every day has been purposely scheduled so it does not coincide with the time all the other Google employees leave, thus preventing the ScanOps workers from interacting with their colleagues. The ScanOps workers are also paid less than the others and excluded from the benefits available to their peers, such as cafes, bikes, shuttles and even access to certain buildings. Informed by the Lumière Brothers’ 1895 film Workers Leaving the Factory, Wilson filmed the yellow-badge-wearing workers. The following day, he was fired. This work probes structural racism while simultaneously chronicling the complex events surrounding Wilson’s dismissal from the company.

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