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.

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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



More NTTL Coverage by notimetolose
July 12, 2008, 6:10 pm
Filed under: artists, contemporary art, exhibition, media coverage | Tags: ,

Reporter on all that’s hip n’ happening, Sue Carter Flinn, has once again mentioned a NTTL-related project in her very cool column, “The Dope Show” featured in Halifax’s “The Coast”.

Check it out!

The Dope Show: Arts news by Sue Carter Flinn
Project Skive, July 04, 2008

Does this sound like you? Yeah, you!

“Are you one of the many people spending too much time at work? Eating lunch at your desk? Addicted to your Blackberry and not able to switch it off, even on holiday? Peacock Visual Arts‘ new exhibition No Time to Lose is about all of this, and more.”

This link was sent to me by Winnipeg curator extraordinaire, Milena Placentile, from her exhibition, No Time To Lose, at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen. Abby Schoneboom’s Project Skive looks at the creative time-wasting efforts of British white-collared workers (Skiving is slang for all the fucking around you do at work). Read anonymous reports and add your own personal favourite skives on the website. As I reported a couple of weeks ago, Halifax artist Cathy Busby is also in the show.



Visit from STV by notimetolose
June 22, 2008, 10:06 pm
Filed under: exhibition, media coverage, photos | Tags: ,

On Thursday morning, the day of our opening reception, we welcomed STV to preview the exhibition. We were thrilled by the enthusiasm with which Euan and his crew explored and documented the artists’ work! We’re looking forward to the spot going to air!


Milena describing works in the exhibition to Euan while the camera person plans shots and the work experience interns look on.


Reporting to you live, from under Saki Satom’s “Desk Project!”


Capturing audio from Anja & Anja’s “Roam/Stray”