Hyperemployment07. 11. 2019 - 19. 01. 2020
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, presents:
An exhibition curated by Domenico Quaranta
Featuring works by Danilo Correale, Elisa Giardina Papa, Sanela Jahić, Silvio Lorusso, Jonas Lund, Michael Mandiberg, Sebastian Schmieg, Guido Segni
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2019
Co-production: MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts
Partner: Italian Cultural Institute, Ljubljana
MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts
Grad Tivoli, Pod turnom 3, Ljubljana
Exhibition opening: Thursday, 7 November 2019 at 6 pm
Open through: 19 January 2020
Labour – one of the defining aspects of our capitalistic societies – is also one of the sides of contemporary life that has been more affected by technological innovations and by the advent of post-Fordism. Although increasing automation has actually caused many forms of human labour to disappear, it has not – as many thinkers have predicted – brought an end to labour. Instead, it has led to – together with other innovations, such as the rise of device culture and social networks – its fragmentation into plenty of micro labours and its infiltration into every moment of life. In other words, today, no matter if we are unemployed, self-employed or working at a regular full-time job, as “technology users” we are always working.
Hyperemployment – a word borrowed from media theorist Ian Bogost, describing “the Exhausting Work of the Technology User”– is a group show curated by Domenico Quaranta meant to explore these and other dimensions of what labour has become through the works of eight international artists who have focused their research on the topics of automation and gig economy, the end of free time and the rise of social media fatigue and self-improvement apps, among others.
In Reverie, On the Liberation from Work (2017), Danilo Correale collaborates with a New York-based hypnotherapist in drafting two guided hypnosis scripts aimed at relaxing the body and mind in preparation for a post-work society. Elisa Giardina Papa’s Labor of Sleep (2017) consists of a series of short video clips humorously referencing self-improvement apps that illustrate how we use technologies to regulate human sleeping habits within the rhythms of a wider system – one that includes humans and non-humans. In The Labour of Making Labour Disappear (2018–2019) Slovenian artist Sanela Jahić presents an ambitious ongoing research based on the programming of a predictive algorithm meant to conceive artworks in her place. Shouldn’t You Be Working? (2016) by Silvio Lorusso, originally presented as a series of stickers to be placed in any leisurely environment, ironically summarises the schizophrenic attitude towards work and leisure of the “technology user”. Launched in 2017 as an online project, Jonas Lund’s Talk To Me was a chatbot, trained and modelled on online conversations by the artist himself to create a machine-learned version of the artist. The exhibition will present a book version designed by Federico Antonini that reveals a twist which makes the project even more meaningful. Quantified Self Portrait (One Year Performance) (2016–2017) is a video installation documenting a performance by Michael Mandiberg, who used self-tracking technology to capture screenshots and images every fifteen minutes – a technique used to monitor freelance labour – and for one year thus tracked the artist’s mental, physical and emotional states. In Hopes and Deliveries (Survival Creativity) (2017–2018) Sebastian Schmieg exploited Fiverr’s lax security and downloaded thousands of videos, produced by gig workers for their clients. The work addresses voyeurism on two levels: it makes visible the people ordering such videos, while also offering a glimpse into the world of the gig economy. And finally, Demand Full Laziness (2018–2023) is a five-year plan and a durational performance about art, labour, self-sustenance and laziness by the Italian artist Guido Segni.
This exhibition is part of the programme Hyperemployment, a year-long series of events focused on post-work, online labour, AI and automation, co-curated by Domenico Quaranta and Janez Janša.