Filed under: artists, contemporary art, exhibition, installation, media coverage, performance, photos, updates | Tags: artists, exhibition, media coverage
This great review was published in The Times on Tuesday, July 22, 2008.
Visit the link above to view this article online; the text is re-posted below in case the article is only available temporarily.
A hammock, but not enough me-time for artist
Mike Wade, The Times, July 22, 2008
A man lies sleeping in a hammock alongside a vast block of ice, whose meltwater is slowly draining into empty whisky bottles. By night, he awakes and spends all his time making labels for the bottles, using images which have been generated on a computer by signals from his brain.
For enthusiasts, Tobaron Waxman’s creation at the Peacock Visual Arts gallery in Aberdeen is an eloquent protest against the dominance of work in our lives, as it encroaches remorsely into our “me-time”. For those of a more sceptical bent, it is just another example of what happens when you let a conceptual artist off the leash.
Mr Waxman, an “inter-disciplinary time-based artist” from Toronto in Canada, appeared modest about his creation, refusing to pose in his hammock for photographers who had arrived to record his latest work. However, no one could dispute that he has applied the full force of his mind to Block of Ice + 1/60.
Seeking to demonstrate how the tyranny of labour intrudes into every second of our lives, over the next four days Mr Waxman will attach electrodes to his head before he drifts off to sleep. These will measure his alpha wave activity – electromagnetic oscillations inside his head – while he is unconscious, creating a form of biofeedback.
The data in turn will be transformed by specialised software package and will be used to power a pre-set internet search for pictures of labouring people on a computer located near by. Finally, the images that are collected will be projected on to the 80cm³ ice block, creating a “dynamically changing collage animated by my brainwaves,” said the artist.
Paradoxically, although visitors to the gallery will only see Mr Waxman asleep, he said his work sends a message of support for workers in Aberdeen and the world over.
“This is very much a gesture in empathy with the exploited, whether the labourer is an office worker, or someone sifting through garbage in a landfill, it is meant to remind us here about the privilege which we enjoy – and to connect us with workers across the world as part of a global ecology of labour,” he said.
Over the four days of the show, the block of ice is expected to melt away. During that time its meltwater will
be filtered, and drained into empty whisky bottles, donated by the Glenfiddich distillery. Mr Waxman’s own waking activities begin after dark, when he will make labels from the image of labour, to stick on the bottles, forming an edition of 500 of “unique sculptural pieces” for sale. All proceeds will be sent to a drinking water charity which operates in the Middle East.
Mr Waxman, who is in his thirties, studied at the Art Instiute of Chicago and produced an early version of his latest work ten years ago. That first installation had been a response to the disabling impact of a sleeping disorder, he revealed. Suffering from extreme exhaustion, inflammation of the joints and unable to walk without the support of sticks, the artist found that the problems of disability were not recognised by any aspect of society.
“In trying to describe how I was feeling I said I felt like a block of ice, to help people outside of my body understand that feeling of stasis of being frozen in place and not being able to produce, in the way that people are expected to be productive,” he said.
Mr Waxman added that though he was now physically fit, the experience had become “a palette for my artmaking.”
Block of Ice + 1/60 is at the Peacock Visual Arts, 21 Castle Street, Aberdeen, until Saturday. Admission free.
Filed under: exhibition, installation, photos | Tags: installation, materials, photos
Tobaron Waxman’s project, Block of Ice +1/60, represented the final stage of the exhibition, No Time to Lose. I was working in a completely different part of the world while the installation and performance took place. The team at Peacock were amazing! The amount of work they did to change over the show in such a short period of time is nothing short of phenomenal. And, while all of that was going on, Monika still found time to take a few snaps of the materials as they were being unpacked and prepared for installation. Here are a couple of them …
Filed under: artists, contemporary art, exhibition, ideas, photos | Tags: art, exhibition, society, work
June 26 – July 20, 2008
Zbynek Baladran | Tanja Dabo | REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT & Miklos Erhardt | Igor Grubic | Sanja Ivekovic | Helmut & Johanna Kandl | Kristina Leko | Pavel Mrkus | Societe Realiste
Curators: Ivana Bago & Antonia Majaca / Non-Alligned CF
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Wikipedia describes work-to-rule as an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace. While still following safety and other regulations, working-to-rule is a deliberate slowdown in the production process as a form of protest. This procedure, also known as ‘white strike’, simply slows down production: an action less disruptive than a strike and less susceptible to disciplinary action as the elementary rules are being obeyed.
Along with alluding to a need for a general slowdown and the question of the existence of ‘surplus labour’, the exhibition title additionally derives from a possible misreading of the phrase. Today, in the matrix of advanced neo-liberal capitalism, the title could be read in the instructive mode as ‘work to dominate’ or ‘work to succeed’, referring to the models of subjectivity and flexibility characteristic of late capitalism.
The exhibition Be a Happy Worker: Work-to-Rule! considers different perspectives and concepts of work and labour, the ‘slowing down’ of work, the quality of work and life in past and present working conditions, the global division of labour and creative reflections on industrial and postindustrial labour. On the other hand, the exhibition touches upon the nostalgia for a time of belief in industrial modernization, in the light of the destinies of workers after the transformations and dissolution of the factories in East Europe. Furthermore, the exhibition presents works of artists from the wider region that deal with political and social aspects of the recent transformations in the time of wild capitalism in Eastern Europe and the glorification of the West as a heaven of entrepreneurial possibilities. The continually relevant issues of gender division of labour, the ‘invisibilty’ of women’s labour and the ever more complex relation betwee n labour and leisure are also addressed. Mapping different perspectives, artistic strategies and the heterogeneous ways they have dealt with this complex subject from the perspective of ‘New Europe’, Be a Happy Worker: Work-To-Rule! reflects the history of work, the aspects of the transformation of past working conditions and a wide range of issues regarding the immaterial labour that concerns us all today.
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The exhibition ‘Be a Happy Worker: Work-to-Rule’ is part of the collaborative project Land of Human Rights by < rotor > association for contemporary art/ Graz, University of J.E. Purkyne/ Usti nad Labem, riesa efau | Motorenhalle/ Dresden, Trafo Gallery/ Budapest, Galerija Skuc/ Ljubljana, g – mk | galerija miroslav kraljevic/ Zagreb
Partner LOHR exhibition:
Land of Human Rights: What do you do for a living?
27 June-16 August + 1 September-13 September 2008
Location: < rotor > association for contemporary art, Graz (AT)
Artists: Jiri Cernicky, Katharina Gruzei, Helmut & Johanna Kandl, Eleonore de Montesquiou, Marija Mojca Pungercar, REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, Josef Schutzenhőfer, Artur Zmijewski
Curators: Anton Lederer & Margarethe Makovec
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LAND OF HUMAN RIGHTS (www.landofhumanrights.eu)
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
The Program of Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic is supported by: City of Zagreb – City Office for Education, Culture and Sport, Ministry of Culture – Croatia, INA Ltd.
Filed under: artists, exhibition, ideas, interactive, photos, publication | Tags: artists, panel, photos
The next day, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. , we held an informal lunch time discussion to not only discuss the motivation of the exhibition and each featured artwork, but to discuss the wider phenomenon of overwork… what causes it and why society can’t seem to say “no”.
As shown in the photos below, the conversation was video recorded. Adam and Sean will be editing it down to a something akin to an exhibition “trailer”. At a later date, we’ll excerpt from it for our forthcoming publication.
Let’s keep the conversation going here!! If you have questions or ideas, please share them with us!