A new job to unwork at
Organized by Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel in the LACE Project Room
Opening reception March 9, 2016 – 7PM-10PM
Exhibition dates: March 9, 2016 – April 17, 2016
A new job to unwork at is an interdisciplinary research platform involving a core working group of Los Angeles-based artists and curators. The project takes shape in a series of private meetings and public programs. These events will examine the role of work as a dominant life-structuring construct, focusing specifically on spheres of cultural production. Participants and audiences are invited to engage in a “material-theoretical discussion” that considers the project’s motivating questions— e.g. What is work? How do we do it? What do we include within (or exclude from) its boundaries? What are the negative effects and strategic advantages of organizing our activities under this banner? This research traverses different formats, offering insight into participants’ individual working methods and the questions they bring to bear. The project inserts production into the space of exhibition, directing the time and resources of the institution toward a critical reflection on the conditions that make our work in this field possible.
The project takes its title from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (1968).
Participants include Andrew Kachel and Clara López Menéndez (organizers), Rafa Esparza, Shoghig Halajian, Dylan Mira, Lee Relvas, Patrick Staff, and alexia welch.
A new job to unwork at will begin on March 9, 2016 with an introductory presentation in the LACE Project Space from 7PM-10PM. During the closing weekend on April 15-17, 2016, a series of events will verbalize some conclusions, share strategies, and mobilize ideas that emerged during the research process. There will be dancing, too. anewjobtounworkat.tumblr.com
Scroll down for weekly curriculum and suggested readings.
Wednesday March 16, 6:30pm
Reach, Grasp, Move, Position, Apply Force – HD Video, 40 minutes, 16:9, Kajsa Dahlberg 2015
Wednesday March 23, 6:30pm
The All-Around Reduced Personality (Die Allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit – Redupers) – 35mm to Digital, 95 minutes, 4:3, Helke Sander, 1978
Wednesday April 6, 6:30pm
The Nightcleaners – 16mm to Digital, 90 minutes, 4:3, Berwick Street Film Collective, 1970-1972
Shoghig Halajian is Assistant Director at LACE, and Co-Managing Director at Human Resources LA. Recent curatorial projects include Rafa Esparza: i have never been here before (LACE, 2015); i,ii-xi, a talk series, in collaboration with Suzy M. Halajian and Anthony Carfello (2015); and The Heart is the Frame (LACE, 2014). From 2007-2010, she co-directed Eighteen Thirty Collaborations, a project space that focused on performance-focused artist commissions. She has presented collaborative projects at Le Magasin-Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble; Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Oslo; and Soma, Mexico City, among other venues. She invited Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel to develop A new job to unwork at in the LACE Project Room.
Rafa Esparza was born, raised, and is currently living in Los Angeles. Esparza is a multidisciplinary artist. His work ranges in medium from installation, sculpture to drawing, painting; and predominantly live performance. Woven into Esparza’s bodies of work are his interests in history, personal narrative, and kinship. He is inspired by his own relationship to colonization and the disrupted genealogies that come forth as a result. Esparza is persistent in staging situations where he attempts to experience a time and space inaccessible to him. Using live performance as his main form of inquiry; site specificity, materiality, memory and (non)documentation are primary tools in interrogating, critiquing and examining ideologies, power structures and binaries that problematize the “survival” process of historicized narratives and the present environments wherein people are left to navigate and socialize. Esparza has performed in a variety of spaces ranging from community engaged places such as AIDS Project Los Angeles, to galleries and museums including The Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, SOMArts and most recently public sites throughout the city of L.A. He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a 2014 Art Matters grantee, and a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.
Dylan Mira is an artist moving video and text, recording how language makes bodies within the limits of representation and the thickness of time. Her recent projects have been presented at Performa 15, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, and Human Resources. She holds an MFA in New Genres from University of California Los Angeles and a BFA in Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Lee Relvas is an artist using sculpture, performance, writing, and sound to think through and manifest the visceral and immaterial experiences of being a body. She has performed and shown work at Artist Curated Projects, Park View Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Suzanne Geiss Company, Honor Fraser Gallery, Orchard, Art in General, and The One Archives. She is also a musician who records under the moniker Rind and is at work on her seventh solo album.
Patrick Staff is an artist based in London and Los Angeles. Their interdisciplinary and frequently collaborative work considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body, frequently drawing on the historical narration of counter-culture and alternative forms of community building. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Chisenhale, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. They have most recently been part of the Serpentine Transformation Marathon 2015, and British Art Show 8, which tours venues throughout 2016.
alexia welch lives, works, jogs in Los Angeles where she also makes videos and texts. These projects often take up issues surrounding embodiment, dykeish sexuality and community standards. She graduated from the film and electronic arts department at Bard College in 2013.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
Andrew Kachel is a curator and writer based in New York. Recent curatorial projects include BOFFO Fire Island Performance Festival (2015, Fire Island Pines, NY; curated with Clara López Menéndez) and We owe each other everything (2014, CCS Galleries / Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY). In 2016 -17 he will present a two-part project with Clara López Menéndez called A new job to unwork at (LACE, Los Angeles; Artspace, New Haven, CT). He received an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
Clara López Menéndez is an art worker, practicing in the curatorial field, art criticism, performance, and other writings. She ran the BOFFO Fire Island Art Residency in 2014 and 2015, she is the director of Dirty Looks LA, has done projects in Berlin, São Paulo, and New York, and written for a bunch of magazines including Mousse, Art News, Little Joe and Girls Like Us. In 2016 -17 she will present a two-part project with Andrew Kachel called A new job to unwork at (LACE, Los Angeles; Artspace, New Haven, CT) and No Play, a feminist training camp at the neue gesellschaft für bildende kunst (ngbk) in Berlin.
This project was made possible through the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts and the Ayudas de Movilidad from Acción Cultural Española AC/E. Special thanks to Muji for donating Body Fit Cushions.
Weekly Working Group Meetings – Provisional Plan
A new job to unwork at
1º day – WORK. Project introduction by Andrew and Clara
What is work? How do we do it? What “counts” as work, and what does not? What are the negative effects and strategic advantages of naming our activities as such? To what extent is work self-defined and self-organized, and to what extent is it something we mimic and perform? Is a paradigm through which we channel our productive energies? The “work” we do in the art field is particularly complicated, as creative work often borrows on the unique subjective dimensions of the producer.
“Precariousness, hyperexploitation, mobility, and hierarchy are the most obvious characteristics of metropolitan immaterial labor. Behind the label of the independent “self-employed” worker, what we actually find is an intellectual proletarian, but who is recognized as such only by the employers who exploit him or her. It is worth noting that in this kind of working existence it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish leisure time from work time. In a sense, life becomes inseparable from work.” —Maurizio Lazzarato, “Immaterial Labor”
**Bryan-Wilson, Julia. “Occupational Realism.” TDR: The Drama Review. 56.4 (2012): 32-48.
**Lazzarato, Maurizio. “Immaterial Labor.” Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics. Eds. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
**Weeks, Kathi. The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
2º day – FRUSTRATION / RAGE
“SCUM will become members of the unwork force, the fuck-up force; they will get jobs of various kinds an unwork. For example, SCUM salesgirls will not charge for merchandise; SCUM telephone operators will not charge for calls; SCUM office and factory workers, in addition to fucking up their work, will secretly destroy equipment. SCUM will unwork at a job until fired, then get a new job to unwork at.”
— Valerie Solanas, SCUM Manifesto
**Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House.” This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Eds. Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua. Watertown, MA: Peresphone Press, 1981.
**Solanas, Valerie. SCUM Manifesto. New York: self-published, 1967.
**Varda, Agnes, Black Panthers. 31min, 1968
Sub-themes and additional material:
Auguste and Louis Lumière, Workers Leaving the Factory – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEQeIRLxaM4
“In 2008, Andrew Norman Wilson worked as a contractor producing video for Google, where he noticed a strange thing: In the building adjacent to his office, workers would stream out every morning, as he arrived. They had worked a long night shift. He also discovered that these workers had a different classification than other contract workers such as himself. They weren’t allowed to touch any of the standard Google amenities that you hear about in every fawning business profile: the free food, bicycles, etc. Wilson turned his video camera on the workers, who turned out to be Google Books digitizers. When Google found out, it fired Wilson and tried to destroy all of his footage.”
—Reyhan Harmanci on Andrew Norman Wilson, Workers Leaving the Googleplex – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0RTgOuoi2k
“I looked down at the copy before me, which I was supposed to proofread. Jesus Christ, I couldn’t focus. I sat back in my chair, fiddling with the pen, my eyes moving around the room of their own accord, wandering orbs of a vegetative patient. Thin strip of blue visible above the building opposite. My gaze dragged my body across the room and out the large sealed window, over the desk littered with drafts, book blurbs to check, sticks of gum I chewed obsessively for fear of offending my co-workers, whom I loathed, the various staplers and paper clips, over the crowded desktop past the trash can filled with signifiers of my incompetence — incorrect printouts, Coke cans to nurse my hangover, plastic trays from the cafeteria since I couldn’t get it together to bring my lunch — my gaze pulled me across the stained beige carpet and through the window, then it let me go. An open space opened in my chest. This was love, a ledge. I stepped off to plunge through the icy blue. Jane, the falling sensation. So cold my burning skin. Falling past windows I am many people, each with a body temperature unique to them. Some are feverish and some hypothermic, trailing flames or bits of ice. Some have diabetes, some have twenty-twenty vision, many are blind. A few of my personalities can enjoy the occasional Snickers bar and then not think about chocolate or indeed any candy at all for days. Similarly, some of my selves are tormented by nicotine addiction while others can enjoy a cigarette or two and never have one again. Some of my personalities have had three or four amputations. Others successfully manage a variety of apartment complexes. Some languish in comas, a few go fly-fishing with their fathers, others sneer at cheap sentiment. One of my personalities was a concubine for a homicidal dictator and was never able to get adequate medical treatment for her resulting syphilis.