Coir Kerala


Coir Kerala
2019, video, 14:50 min
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The video Coir Kerala was filmed in the South Indian state of Kerala and documents the semi-mechanized processing of coconut fiber in the villages. Coir is the name for the fiber material gained from the husk of coconuts, which is a significant local product in tropical Kerala. The rural manufacturers are mostly organized in communist cooperatives.
The video follows the different steps of the production process beginning with the mechanical extraction of fiber, which is then manually spun into ropes and finally woven into mattings on large handlooms. Spinning movements repeatedly appear in the different steps of production. The images watch the interactions of the workers with the material and machines in close-up.
The Coir industry represents a central conflict of labor in Kerala: Most of the people working in the rural cooperatives are women. Though working conditions have improved over the past decades based on reforms by communist organisations the industry is over-aged because of the low wages of 3-5 Euro per day. Labor and Trade Unions have become powerful and now tend to block further industrial development of the sector over fear of loosing jobs in the villages, which would shake the economic balance of rural Kerala.