A new season of the Dutch Lopendebandwerk starts, starting Wednesday 16 March via vpro.nl, nporadio1.nl, the popular podcast platforms and the NPO Listening app.
A musical ode to the assembly line worker. After the first season of the podcast series Lopendebandwerk with Spinvis and Kubus (among others), documentary maker Emmie Kollau again goes to work with top musicians. Luwten, producer Sim Fane (S10), Koen van de Wardt (Klangstof) and Lucky Fonz III are inspired by machines and algorithms that dictate the rhythm of working days. They compose the soundtracks to the stories of the assembly line workers.
Who’s behind it?
In the second season of Lopendebandwerk, listeners crawl into the minds of modern assembly line workers who make our consumer society possible. Almost casually, we throw a vegetarian burger in our shopping cart, or order a meal online. But isn’t it strange that we are so far removed from the people who make this happen? They are only a minuscule link in a process that goes on and on. How do you keep hold of yourself in a system that you cannot control?
Emmie Kollau: “I once heard of a man who worked in a supermarket distribution center. All day he talked to the computer that gave him orders. ‘Confirm,’ he said. ‘Confirm, confirm’. in the evening at home, he answered his wife with a ‘Confirm.’ I couldn’t let that go. I realized that I had no idea what this kind of thing was like. It motivated me to delve into this world and create a musical ode to the assembly line worker.’
Vegatarian chicken nuggets
In episode 1 with Luwten we follow Han Vriezink who makes vegetarian chicken nuggets, hamburgers and cordon bleus. He checks to see if they are not a single gram too heavy and he hears the sound of the machines to see if everything is okay. But secretly he would have preferred to become a dog trainer.
In episode 2 with Sim Fane we stand next to Alex in an industrial laundry, hanging the butcher’s coats while the temperature rises to 50 degrees. Alex is the rebel on the shop floor. She comes from a family of intellectuals, and raised five children on her own – you can’t fool her.
Meal Delivery Man
Episode 3 with Klangstof races through Nijmegen, where Martijn delivers meals on his scooter with a broken arm. He sees his job as one big computer game, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take it seriously. On his own, he tries to take on the giants Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
In episode 4 with Lucky Fonz III, we are introduced to Nassim, whose work is literally in the hidden. Nassim was a true workaholic in Iran, but in the Netherlands he is not allowed to work as an undocumented person. Yet he tiled bathrooms and plastered walls in restaurants – for barely 50 euros a day. Because for him work is medicine.
Lopendebandwerk is a musical ode to people who are invisible but indispensable. The podcast series gives an insight into the hidden worlds of the workplace and is made in cooperation with the best musicians in the Netherlands.
About the maker
Emmie Kollau studied social geography in Amsterdam. She worked for numerous radio programmes and interviewed artists, filmmakers and musicians for the VPRO. She makes podcasts and radio documentaries. For her documentary The Photographer, The Harbour Singer and The Woman Who Doesn’t Want to Be Known she was nominated for a Prix Europa. In 2021 she was appointed Master Storyteller, a prize for the best journalistic narrative productions in the Netherlands and Flanders.
- Lopendebandwerk is a podcast by VPRO, NPO Radio1, Autres Directions and Aldus’ productions and was created with support from the NPO Fund.
- Lopendebandwerk season 2, four episodes from Wednesday 16 March on vpro.nl/lopendebandwerk, the NPO Listenapp, the podcast platforms, and the first episode also in DOCS.
Top photo: Producer Sim Fane (l) and podcast maker Emmie Kollau in laundry room (c)Alex van Zinnicq Bergmann #lopendebandwerk