exhibition invitation & poster

*click to enlarge the exhibition view

Funny Business: No Collar Work and a sculptural installation (2014) is an installative work made of textile objects, wood and prints. It focuses on altered perceptions of labour and the position of an artist as a worker in the so-called post-industrial period, which is characterized by a shift to the service sector that had taken place back in the 1970ies. While the main characteristics of the former system, Fordism, were seriality, physical exertion and monotony, post-Fordism is generally denoted by a flexibilization of labour, an overuse of mental and creative capacities and an increased self-discipline. In the period heavily affected by preference of immaterial labour, the image of an ideal worker largely corresponds to the image of an artist. Artists are innovative, movable, and flexible, always prepared to embark on risky ventures, without making clear distinctions between free and working hours. In order to be visible in the hyperproductive cultural domain, they need to be networked and have entrepreneurial qualities. This makes them much like real entrepreneurs, whose figure, together with the establishment of analogies between art and business, have come from the West, but often with unclear labels and loose seams. However, by pointing to limitations of working conditions, artists are the ones who oppose the mythologization of labour. They harbour suspicions as to the new ideology of creativity, the ideology that often ends up serving market commodification. Perhaps the current model of labour can be viewed through the prism of its bizarreness and flaws, from a humorous aspect?

The over-sized collars of different colors play with the ever-present logic of branding and marking art with the language of entrepreneurship. The collars look like they have swallowed their wearers, the bodies. This may imply that the classical image of worker, such as the blue collars, is eliminated from the current perception of labour. It also connotes a blurred position of the increasing workforce, of creative workers or the so-called no-collar workers, whose capacities have become a very important fuel of neoliberalism.
Another interesting element are photomontages that are inserted into the collars. These photomontages consist of covers of fancy art magazines, such as the Monopol, redesigned using the techniques of image and text shuffling, while the lead contents are replaced with images resembling children drawings.

16mm film, digitized, HD projection, 05'39'', sound, loop, 2014
Part of the exhibition project "Funny Business", Mali Salon, MOCA Rijeka, Croatia

The film "The New Meetings( Busting Zombies of Immaterial Labour)" is based on fictitious scenarios created through an appropriation of photographic material documenting different activities of artists and non-artists through recent history. These activities are joined in an effort to elude the standard forms of public protest and resist the dominant model of work. "The New Meetings" shows several young people that may be described as a carnivorousness group of characters coming from different historical periods. For example, there is George Grosz as Dada Death from 1919, and the Metropolitan Indians from the 1970ies.
This unusual combining of forces takes place in the contemporary world, when the excessively increased working dynamics may be said to turn into zombism. The group ‘fights’ back, by employing measures that are also extraordinary, but in a different way: their measures include leisure, meaningless work, humor and silly attempts of improving psychophysical stamina. For example, a female character does abs, while Dada Death plays the role of her fitness instructor. We may say that the gathered characters, together with death, practice survival, preoccupied with possible ways of counter-attack against the unstoppable labourworks.

The film’s slapstick includes different elements of humor and absurd, as well as luddistic use of errors. This may suggest a departure from urgent and pragmatic applications of creativity and autonomy, and a quest for free and enjoyable creative practice that examines the possibilities of resistance to the exploiting working conditions hidden under the late capitalism mask of progress.
text by Ksenija Orelj

Money in the Hands of Children, exhibition invitation & poster is appropriated from a scientific publication about children and money, published in Vienna in 1967, graphic design of cover by Heinz Treimer

Related work: Outside the Role, In Hand