No Time to Lose: A Search for Work / Life Balance


A hammock, but not enough me-time for artist by notimetolose

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.



Back to overwork but keeping the NTTL ball rolling! by notimetolose

It’s ironic, to say the least, that I’d find myself facing the same ol’ overwork “traps” so shortly after presenting an exhibition about work/life balance. Old habits die hard and my habit of taking on too much, and not finding sufficient balance between the things I have to do, the things I need to do, and the things I really want to do, is still firmly in place. That being said, I don’t want to give the impression that it’s been all work and no play… I have indeed managed to find time to spend traveling and to gather with amazing friends. Still, balance is a tough thing to achieve and, as much as multi-tasking promises efficiency, the truth is that we can only really do one thing at a time, and we can only really be in one place at a time.

This might explain why I haven’t had much time to work on this blog. I’d still really like to comment on the last phase of the exhibition, Tobaron Waxman’s new media installation and performance, “Block of Ice +1/60”, and I will definitely do that as soon as possible. In short, I am delighted to report that his project was very well received. In a few minutes, I’ll repost the article that appeared in The Times and, in a few days, I hope to share some of the documentation that was collected during the performance.

Although No Time to Lose at PVA is now in the past, related activity is still underway. I am still chatting with other possible venues, and I am working with PVA to produce a follow-up publication. These are all very exciting things for us, and you can be sure I’ll keep you posted on these and other developments!!

All the best,
Milena



The goods from Amy Alexander’s street performances by uebergeek
July 1, 2008, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Aberdeen, exhibition, updates | Tags: , , ,

Howdy all, Amy here… reporting from beautiful not-quite-downtown San Diego, Calif. But just a week and a half ago, on Friday June 20th, I was in beautiful downtown-and-otherwise Aberdeen, as the geek-on-the-street office worker/VJ performance artist. With the help of the Peacock crew, I traveled the streets of Aberdeen in a mobile office VW van, setting up desk chair, computer monitor, and funny gadgets, to do my work-themed psychedelic text visuals at various locations on the streets of Aberdeen. It was a lot of fun, and I was especially impressed with those Aberdeenites who had the nerve to come up to a woman in a silver jacket with a keyboard gaffer taped to her body and a droned-out look on her face and ask, “What are you doing?”

Larger images can be found in my flickr photostream.

Here are some videos. The onscreen visuals look better in YouTube’s high quality setting –

but I can’t get that embedded into WordPress. But you could go to YouTube directly and choose “480p” below the video here and here.



More work and overwork music for the playlist by notimetolose
June 30, 2008, 2:19 pm
Filed under: updates | Tags:

Over 15 more songs have been added to the playlist, thanks to the suggestions emailed in by Leigh.

Here are a few alternative links for the songs I was unable to find out the website hosting the list…

Butterfingers – I love Work


Dead Kennedys – Take This Job and Shove It


Bernard Cribbins – Hole in the Ground


Bernard Cribbins – Right Said Fred


Nellie McKay – Work Song
http://www.last.fm/music/Nellie+McKay/_/Work+Song



Last Minute Details by notimetolose
June 22, 2008, 10:23 pm
Filed under: artists, exhibition, installation, photos, updates | Tags: , , , , ,

More photos taken on Thursday, just before the opening…


Anja making last minute changes


Adjusting the lighting


Thank you, Karina, for letting us use your desk as scaffolding!


Always aiming for perfection… Saki’s last minute “vacuuming” by hand


Our volunteer van driver said he wouldn’t agree to the duty without the appropriate chauffeur’s cap. Of course, none of us could resist trying it on first!



There’s so much more to come! by notimetolose

Hello everyone! Milena here =-)

This past month a I did a great deal more traveling than usual, but it has come to an end and I’m now back in Winnipeg. Being in Aberdeen was wonderful thanks to the amazing staff at Peacock Visual Arts, and the wonderful artists involved with No Time to Lose.

I spent my last day in Aberdeen wandering around downtown, exploring parts that I’d not had a chance to see earlier. Before embarking on that little expedition, I stopped into the gallery to say “good bye” to the show. In some ways, owing to my geographical distance, it feels like it’s over. The reality, however, is that things are just beginning!!

On Friday, June 20, Amy Alexander will perform CyberSpaceLand at various locations in Aberdeen — The Green at 5 p.m., Schoolhill at 6 p.m., and Beach Boulevard at 7 p.m. For more information, click here: http://www.peacockvisualarts.com/archive/157/get-away-from-your-laptop-and-dance

On Tuesday, July 8, cineclub at Peacock Visual Arts will present four short videos…

  • Work [Kika Thorne, 1999]
  • The Measure of Success [Coleen Finlayson & Cherie Moses, 1987]
  • A Cure for Being Ordinary [Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby, 2005]
  • Dreams of the Night Cleaners [Leila Sujir, 1996]

From July 22 – 26, Tobaron Waxman will perform his sculptural installation, Block of Ice + 1/60 … more details about that coming soon!

And of course, we have a publication in the works! It’ll be something a little different than a conventional exhibition catalogue because we’re not as keen on having a straight forward document as we are in capturing the effect of the exhibition, including the response and dialogue it helped to generate.

I would love to post photos from the opening reception and panel discussion right now, but unfortunately I have “no time to lose” on a few other obligations. I’m hoping to share images this weekend. And on that note, if you have any that you would like to share, please do! You can email them to the gallery, or post them on Flickr and provide links via the comments section of this blog! We’re all looking forward to sharing a great conversation about the art works included in the exhibition, and the overarching theme of work/life balance.

Best!
– M.



Fantastic! by notimetolose
June 13, 2008, 5:39 pm
Filed under: artists, contemporary art, exhibition, updates | Tags: , , , , ,

No Time to Lose opened yesterday, and it appears that it was enjoyed by all in attendance! We followed the reception with a wonderful dinner, and earlier this afternoon, we had a great informal panel discussion.

I must say, I’m thoroughly exhausted at the moment, so it’ll be a few days before I am up to posting in detail… pics, etc.

For now, I would like to thank everyone at Peacock Visual Arts for their enthusiastic vision and tremendous support. I would also like to thank the many fantastic funders who gave generously to make this exhibition a reality. I will provide a more detailed thanks when I post again.

I am in Aberdeen tomorrow, but will not likely have access to the internet. I will be in transit back to Canada on Sunday, and traveling homeward after that. Maybe you’ll hear from me again on Saturday? In the meantime, if you stop by this blog, please PLEASE leave comments. We know people are clicking here… we’d love to hear from you, too =-)

PS. If you’re in Scotland, stay tuned to the STV evening news some time this week because Ewan seemed quite smitten with the show… I think his coverage will be fantastic!