Burak Delier’s video Crisis & Control probes the relationship between what we do, who we aspire to be, and how we relate to others. Midway through the video, a man dressed in a crisp white button-down and tie declares to the camera: “Trust: this has to be the main component of the company culture—to be followed by transparency and honesty, kindness, affection, solidarity.
Through these kind of universal values the company employee will be forged as a team.” Such language is familiar from corporate development and teamwork training sessions the world over, and in this video, the message is delivered amid the polished marble floors and gleaming elevator banks of an office building. However, this wholly average speaker delivers his wholly average speech while standing on his head.
He is just one of six office workers and managers Delier interviewed about their careers, workplace challenges, and lives outside the office. Each speaker is dressed for work but holds contorted postures derived from yoga, a scenario that often yields subtle physical humor. In one scene, the camera lingers on the straining grip of an inverted woman as she recounts that matters at work have gotten completely out of hand. Delier is fascinated by the way individuals convince themselves to maintain the status quo despite overwhelming demands placed on them by workplace rules and hierarchy.
Today, when norms of corporate culture are often proposed as models for our governments and communities, it seems pressing to consider—as Crisis & Control does—the gaps that can develop between being an optimized worker and a flourishing human being.