Oi Pello Pello

For the opening of the exhibition "The Margins of the Factory", Nathaniel Mann performed his rendition of the famous traditional Basque song "Oi Pello Pello".

First collected in Cancionero Popular Vasco in 1918, the song was popularized by singer - songwriter Mikel Laboa, founder of "Ez Dok Amairu" ("There is no 13"), the cultural movement of Basque poets, musicians and artists whose name was a suggestion of sculptor Jorge Oteiza.

Nathan sings it to raw footage from "Work in Progress", showing men and women at work in the Lea Artibai region in Basque Country, where they trim rubber parts destined for the global automobile industry. While singing, he manually assembles a device which broadcasts his prerecorded voice to a transistor radio, with which he then performs a breathtaking duet.

The song is about a tired spinster who asks "Pello", her cruel boss or husband, if she may stop working and go to bed. He keeps telling her to carry on with the next step in the spinning process, until the sun comes up and it is too late to go to sleep.

The performance is Nathan's response to the themes and issues explored in the installation of "Work in Progress", infused with his own longstanding interest in work song and traditional music.