Foto: Angela Neubauer

The Cleanroom Paradox

Felix Lenz, Angela Neubauer, Eszter Zwickl


Dismantling the deceptively pristine image of the high-tech industry The Cleanroom Paradox unveils the systemic suppression of information on occupational and toxic hazards at semiconductor production sites. A gradually disintegrating, screen-printed photograph of former Samsung factory worker Jin and a video documenting its creation are being superimposed with her and other industry experts’ stories of inadequate health measures at work. Jin was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Interweaving stories and fibers, the used ink is corrosive and made of chemically dissolved smartphones. Analogous to the industry’s etching processes, the ink will disintegrate the print over time, skinning a surface to reveal Jin’s story, which is already inscribed in the lower layers. The toxicity hidden behind the many steps in semiconductor manufacturing and the effect of the labor necessary to shape our high-tech products shifts focus towards the middle-west.

Jin’s fate is not an isolated case but one of many that can be traced far across the industry.


A project by: Felix Lenz, Angela Neubauer, Eszter Zwickl
Produced at and supported by: Design Investigations (ID2) University of Applied Arts Vienna
Video director, cinematographer, editor: Felix Lenz
Video co-directors and story editors: Angela Neubauer, Eszter Zwickl
Sound design and mix: Lisa-Maria Hollaus
Voice editors: Ganael Dumreicher, Lorenz Embacher
Interviewees: Jin [name altered], Seong-Ho Jeon, Seung-Gyu Jo, Dr. Richard Clapp
Interpreter: Semi Kwon
Screen printing specialist: Ute Huber Leierer
Special thanks to: SHARPS

Felix Lenz (AT) is a research-led artist, designer, and filmmaker based in Vienna. His work analytically explores geopolitical, ecological, and technological matters and can be found at
Angela Neubauer (AT) is a young Viennese creative, exploring her interests in social and natural sciences through her artistic work. She is currently studying at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.
Eszter Noémi Zwickl (HU) mostly focuses on social and cultural issues through art and design. Her writings, drawings, and designs have been exhibited in Labor Galerie (Budapest).