Work has never been more present!
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Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
Together with the symposium of the same name, as part of the fourteenth edition of Mine, Yours, Ours festival, exhibition Who Does What? asks what happens when social media users become neurons of a hive-mind ready to be consulted, when most endeavors become services that can be commissioned and purchased online, when people become software extensions, when online marketplaces shrink the global geography of freelancing. Where and how value extraction is taking place?
WDW? also reflects on the work dynamics taking place within the art and design field: it questions the entrepreneurial shift from art to art direction. What kinds of labor go into art? Who are the ones performing it? Which activities, side-jobs, formal and informal economies constitute or limit a practice?
Finally, WDW? looks at manifestations of forms of labor that were rendered invisible, strategies to reclaim pleasure in activity, ways of finding pride and meaning in making and doing.
In other words, the exhibition looks at how work is performed, delegated, outsourced, crowdsourced, transformed, destabilized, disguised, displaced, concealed and revealed, rejected and reclaimed. WDW? focuses on the present of work, a time in which work is as present as ever.
Curated by Silvio Lorusso, the exhibition will open at Filodrammatica Gallery on Thursday, 14th February, at 20:00, featuring works by Anxious to Make, Deconstructeam, Constant Dullaart, Maria Eichhorn, Sam Kidel, Alina Lupu, François Girard Meunier, Elisa Giardina Papa, Ottonie Von Roeder, Sebastian Schmieg and Jeff Thompson.
The exhibition will stay on view until 1st March, working days from 5 to 8 pm. If you wish to visit the exhibition in some other time, contact us by e-mail at info[at]drugo-more.hr or by phone at +385 51 212 957.
About the exhibited works & their authors:
Anxious to Make (Liat Berdugo and Emily Martinez)
Commissions – This Artwork is About the Sharing Economy
This Artwork is All About Sharing Economy
Works by Bergudo and Martinez critically and playfully examine what it means to be a working artist in the sharing economy, and how this ever-expanding marketplace affects our emotional and physical lives.
Anxious to Make is the collaborative practice of Liat Berdugo and Emily Martinez, two commissioning bodies. They focus on economic concepts, such as cryptocurrencies and the so-called “sharing economy”, and the accelerationist, neoliberal landscapes associated with them. Their work examines how these economic concepts intersect with colonialism, technology, wealth culture, race, altruism, utopianism, and exploitation. While Anxious to Make’s physical existence takes many shifting forms, it often manifests as series of video commissions, downloads, online generators, workshops, net art interventions, books, and sweepstakes. Anxious to Make believes in absurdist extremes as way to examine contemporary realities. Our work has appeared recently in EMMEDIA (Calgary, CA), Transmediale (Berlin, DE), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), MoMA PS1 (New York), V2_Lab for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam, NL), The Luminary (St. Louis), The Institute of Network Cultures (Amsterdam, NL), The Wrong Biennale, and Telematic (San Francisco).
Liat Berdugo is an artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, California. Her work strives to create an expanded, thoughtful consideration for digital culture. Berdugo has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, and collaborates widely with individuals and archives. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture at the University of San Francisco.
Emily Martinez is an artist working with digital and networked media. Her recent practice and research interests examine the relationship between media, memory, and catastrophe; post-representational forms of subjectivity, emancipatory practices, and the digital archive. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Behind Every Great One
Behind Every Great One
Behind Every Great One was originally created for Ludum Dare 42. The theme of the game jam was “Running out of space.” Creators didn’t make it on time for the competition so they decided to polish the prototype a bit and release it as a free short game.
Gabriel is a really driven succesful artist. Victorine doesn’t have any personal passions but supports Gabriel as a housewife. They love each other.
Cook, clean, smoke, read and have dinner with your husband.
Deconstructeam is a Spanish video game developer based in Valencia. Founded in March 2012 by Jordi de Paco, it is best known for developing Gods Will Be Watching (2014) and The Red Strings Club(2018), both published by Devolver Digital, which became their publisher after the 26th Ludum Daregame jam.The company made a notable leap after that moment, reaching more than 20,000 € in crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and becoming one of the most relevant independent video game company located in Spain during the mid and late 2010s.
DullTech – NeoLiberalLulzz, video still
The artist and DullTech CEO Constant Dullaart launched a Kickstarter to crowd-source the company’s first product. The DullTech media player is a product that promises to simplify the installation of single- and multi-channel video work. Dulltech began while the artist was on a 2012 residency in Shenzhen, South China, a region known as “The Silicon Valley of Hardware.” At that time, the company and product were a way for the artist to get into to an original equipment manufacturer (O.E.M.) to see the working conditions of Chinese laborers. After artists expressed excitement about the convenience of the product, Dullaart and his colleagues decided to go into actual production with the factory. Though the O.E.M. Dullaart used for this project, the Taiwanese manufacturer RealTek, does not have any reported violations, mentioning Chinese labor often elicits discomfort due to the 2010 suicides at Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory and several reports by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights and other watchdog organizations concerning working conditions, employee exhaustion, and contract terminations due to work-related illness.
In addition to being a convenient product that “just works,” because of Dullaart’s documentation of the manufacturing process in his sales pitch, the DullTech video and product bring the conditions of the modern factory into the economies of creative digital production, highlighting the dependence on this type of labor shared by artists, the white cube, and Kickstarter itself. In so doing, it points out a disconcerting double bind: the ability to observe and critique this process seems to belong solely to those who enable it.
Constant Dullart (Netherlands, 1979) works primarily with the Internet as an alternative space of presentation and (mis)representation. His often-political approach is critical of the control that corporate systems have upon our perception of the world, and the way in which we passively adopt their languages. His practice includes websites, performances, installations and manipulated found images, presented both offline and in the public space of the Internet.
His work has been published internationally in print and online, and exhibited at venues such as MassMOCA, UMOCA the New Museum in New York, Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, Autocenter in Berlin, and de Appel, W139, and the Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands.
5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours
Photo: Andy Keate
In 2016 Chisenhale Gallery presented the first solo exhibition in the UK and a new commission by Berlin-based artist, Maria Eichhorn. Highly responsive to context, Eichhorn’s work operates within the logic of institutional structures, enacting changes through precise and visually minimal gestures. Her ambitious, large-scale projects often take on the mechanics of legal, social and financial processes, making permanent interventions that evolve over time.
Following a site visit to Chisenhale in July 2015, which included a discussion with Chisenhale staff exploring their working lives, Eichhorn has produced a two part work examining contemporary labour conditions.
At Eichhorn’s request, the gallery’s staff withdrew their labour for the five weeks of the exhibition. None of Chisenhale’s employees worked during this period and the gallery and office were closed, implementing leisure and ‘free time’ in the place of work. At the heart of the project is a belief in the importance of questioning work – of asking why, within our current political context, work is synonymous with production, and if, in fact, work can also consist of doing nothing. Eichhorn’s conceptual gesture is an implicit critique of institutional production and broader neo-liberal patterns of consumption, but it is also an artwork that deals with ideas of displacement of the artist’s labour and of the artwork as work.
Maria Eichhorn, born 1962 in Bamberg, Germany, is an internationally renowned contemporary German artist. Her artwork has a particularly unique signet: She pursues abstract themes that are to a large extent shaped by law, such as ‘property’, ‘capital’, ‘joint stock companies’, and ‘restitution’, and awards them an artistic, appellative character. This was especially apparent in her projects Maria Eichhorn Aktiengesellschaft and Rose Valland Institut, which were displayed at the documenta in Kassel, Germany, in 2002 and 2017.
Maria Eichhorn studied under Karl Horst Hödicke at the Berlin University of the Arts from 1984 to 1990. In 1986, her first exhibitions took place. In 1999, Maria Eichhorn was Guest Professor at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Since 2003, she has been a lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. Aside from her well-known pieces showcased at the documenta in Kassel and Athens, her works have also been on display at the Chisenhale Gallery in London (2016), the Haus der Kulturen in Berlin (2015), the Biennale in Venice (2015), the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in Vancouver (2015), and the Kunsthaus in Bergenz (2014).
Sam Kidel is the Customer Service Agent. As the Customer Service Agent, Kidel probes and reshapes Ambient Music, exploring its emotional and sensory effects and its relationship with capitalist production, as Muzak.
Kidel was formerly a member of the Young Echo collective (Young Echo Records, Ramp Recordings), which he co-founded, and Killing Sound (Blackest Ever Black). Since the age of 15, when he started making music with computers, Kidel — also operating under the moniker El Kid — has built up a diverse portfolio, including soundtracks for British and French TV documentaries, fashion shows, French painter Fabienne Verdier, the New York theatre world, and installations and performances from Glasgow and Geneva to Basel and Berlin.
As part of his current work with Ambient Music, Kidel has curated a conference at Oxford Brookes University titled The Politics of Ambience (with Terre Thaemlitz, David Toop, Nina Power and Chino Amobi amongst the contributors), created a mix for Thump (Vice) re- visiting archive recordings of Ambient Music parties of the early 1990’s, and released an acclaimed LP for Death of Rave, Disruptive Muzak.
Kidel completed a Masters in Composition and Sonic Art at Oxford Brookes in 2015 and now teaches at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Bristol.
#RideWithUsPhilip, video still
Oh, and there’s also a small fee for the job!
Alina Lupu (1985) is a Romanian born-Dutch based post-conceptual artist and writer. She has a background in psychology, photography and an incomplete education in fine arts. Through a paperwork mishandling committed by a local housing corporation, she still resides in Amsterdam, 6 years and counting, in spite of a wave of encroaching gentrification. A fluke. She was alternately employed and contracted by Deliveroo, Helpling, Foodora, Uber, Hanze Groningen, Willem de Kooning Rotterdam, de Taart van m´n Tante, and Poké Perfect Amsterdam. Her pension will eventually total a bit over 2 Euros per month. For her, a side job is not just an abstraction.
Later this year she looks forward to the release of her new book entitled This is a work of fiction.
Where “I Love the Sound of Your Voice” is not a Pickup Line
Where “I Love The Sound of Your Voice” Is Not A Pick-Up Line is a novella relating the experience of a young art school graduate as a call center sales agent in the outskirts of Amsterdam. The fabricated office objects featured in the photographs evoke questions of labor practices.
“I was presented with the company’s purpose, the scope of the tasks entailed by the vacature I was about to fill. I could even be promoted like this veteran employee that got promoted and that everybody keeps talking about, as a ghostly reminder within this fast-paced environment that not everybody here is predestined to failure and that we could, who knows, become the hero of our own personal story. For a moment I did let myself imagine my life within the company… I was under the spell of a perfectly self-aware salesman making his usual pitch, and that pitch was precisely about the job I applied for…”
François Girard-Meunier (CA/NL) is interested by the performativity and politics of labour in a contemporary western post-fordist context. He works mainly in the cultural field as a designer, web developer, writer and so on. He is based in Amsterdam, where he runs the Office for Workspace Studies and self-publishes.
Elisa Giardina Papa
Technologies of Care
Technologies of Care, Installation view, XVI Quadriennale d’Arte, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2016.
Elisa Giardina Papa’s Technologies of Care documents new ways in which service and affective labor are being outsourced and automated via internet platforms. It explores topics such as empathy, precarity, immaterial labor, and the digital mediation of social relations through online work and consumption.
The video visualizes the invisible workforce of online caregivers. The workers interviewed in Technologies of Care include an ASMR artist, an online dating coach, a fetish video performer, a social media fan-for-hire, a nail wrap designer, and a customer service operator. Based in Brazil, Greece, the Philippines, Venezuela, and the United States, they work as anonymous freelancers, connected via third-party companies to customers around the globe. They provide clients with customized goods and experiences, erotic stimulation, companionship, and emotional support. Technologies of Care shows how pre-existing inequalities in care work, such as the feminization of caregiving paired with its lack of recognition as waged work, and the historical division of labor between Global North and Global South have been both exacerbated and dissimulated by the digital economy.
The stories collected in Technologies of Care include those of non-human caregivers as well. One of its seven episodes, Worker 7 – Bot? Virtual Boyfriend/Girlfriend? documents the artist’s three-month-long “affair” with an interactive chatbot designed, in the words of its advertising copy, to be the “digital version of a real romantic partner.
Elisa Giardina Papa is an Italian artist whose work investigates gender, sexuality, and labor in relation to neoliberal capitalism and the Global South. Her work has been exhibited and screened at MoMA (New York), Whitney Museum [Sunrise/Sunset Commission], Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, Unofficial Internet Pavilion of 54th Venice Biennial, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, rhizome.org [Download Commission], The Flaherty NYC, among others. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and a BA from Politecnico of Milan. She lives and works in New York and Sicily.
Ottonie von Roeder
The Post-Labouratory is an answer to the rapid automation of labour and the resulting cultural crisis. It liberates us from the idea of the necessity of labour and supports us in discovering our true desires. It offers participants the possibility to abolish their job by developing a robot that does their labour with the engineering help of post-labour companions.
For the documentation of human skills, knowledge, tools and experiences the working process of each participant is recorded. This documentation feeds the development of the robots but is also stored in the database of the Post-Labouratory.
Through the abolition of their labour, the participants can explore a post-labour future. The post-labour companions assist the participants to reconsider their desires during individual sessions. The creative action of making and discussions about work, leisure and life enables this passage. The Post-Labouratory claims that the quality of automating technology increases if the specialists – people working in the job to be automated – take an active part in the development of the robot. During the development process the robot becomes the apprentice of the participant.
The Post-Labouratory combines the skills of the participants and the post- labour companions that include design, engineering and social sciences. The Post-Labouratory supports the transition of workers into non-workers and the building of a post-labour future.
Ottonie von Roeder is a designer working in the field of critical and social design, design research and design education. In her work, she applies speculation and playfulness to understand and question existing cultural, societal and political systems and structures. In order to trigger a wider discourse and to communicate her concepts, she uses installations, objects, performance, video, graphics and photography as a media. She was trained as a designer in Germany, Israel and the Netherlands. In 2017 she was nominated for the Gijs Bakker Award with her project Post-Labouratory and in 2018 she won the Dutch Design Awards and International Jury Award in the category Service & Systems with the project Cow&Co.
Currently, she is based in Leipzig, working in different projects and collaborations in Germany and abroad. Besides freelance activities, such as teaching in the Product Design course at Universität der Künste Berlin and developing workshops for the educational program of the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau, she develops own artistic projects which deal with automation and the future of labour amongst other topics.
Segmentation.Network plays back over 600,000 segmentations manually created by crowd workers for Microsoft’s COCO image recognition data set. This data set is based on photos from Flickr and is used in machine learning for training and testing.
The piece makes visible the hidden manual labor that goes into building neural networks and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, Segmentation.Network addresses machine vision as an act of conscious selection: what can and should be seen by machines and what will remain unrecognized or deemed irrelevant.
Hence, neural networks and artificial intelligence in general can be considered a collective and rather introspective endeavor and achievement.
Sebastian Schmieg’s work engages with the algorithmic circulation of images, texts and bodies within contexts that blur the boundaries between human and software, individual and crowd, or labor and leisure. At the centre of his practice are playful interventions into found systems that explore hidden – and often absurd – aspects behind the glossy interfaces of our networked society. Schmieg works in a wide range of media such as video, website, installation, artist book, custom software and lecture performance. Schmieg’s works have been shown at, among others, The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Rhizome, New York; Transmediale, Berlin; NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf; Panke Gallery, Berlin. He lives and works in Berlin.
Computer by: Amias_MacLeod.Parkland_-Florida_-United-States
Our computers, and where and how we use them, is incredibly personal: we care for them like pets or lovers, cleaning them, grooming their operating systems when prompted, and increasingly taking them with us wherever we go. Similarly, the workspaces in which we use them also reflect how we work and how we interact with technology; as with any relationship, each person is unique. For this project, a request was made on Amazon’s crowdsourced labor platform Mechanical Turk for workers (who call themselves “Turkers”) to take a photograph of their computer and include a name or alias and where they live (as vague as they wanted to be). Gathered over the course of two years, the images reveal the spaces where Jeff Bezos’ vision of “artificial-artificial-intelligence” are carried out. They starkly show the relationship between class and technology: the images we most often of the tech economy are of shiny Google offices, open floorplans, and ping-pong tables, but it is clear from these images that Turkers, along with content moderators and other invisible parts of the technologies we use every day, are carried out by real people in real places.
Jeff Thompson (b. 1982, Minneapolis/USA) is an artist, programmer, and educator based in the NYC area. Through code, sculpture, sound, and performance, Thompson’s work physicalizes and gives materiality to otherwise invisible technological processes. He is currently Assistant Professor and Program Director of Visual Art & Technology at Stevens Institute of Technology, and co-founded the experimental curatorial project Drift Station.
Thompson has exhibited and performed his work internationally at venues including the Museum of the Moving Image, Sheldon Museum of Art, the Taubman Museum of Art, SITE Santa Fe, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the Jersey City Museum, and the Weisman Art Museum. Recent commissions and residencies include Bell Labs, the Computer Laboratory at University of Cambridge, Abandon Normal Devices, Brighton Digital Festival, Impakt, Rhizome, Turbulence, Harvestworks, and Holland Computing Center, the supercomputing facility for the University of Nebraska system.