Now You Can Go
5th December 2015
"Pablo’s ‘interruption’ gave bodily form to questions of social reproduction in the art world, highlighting the unrecognised and under-valued background labour that keeps the show on the road. Thoughtful, tender, and more than a little sassy."
(Helena Reckitt, Goldsmiths MFA Curating)
This piece was was conceived as an 'interruption' for a one-day symposium exploring the concept of social reproduction and reflecting on feminist efforts to transform the work of love and care (i.e. historical struggles over housework and the wage). The programme drew inspiration from Carla Lonzi, the writer and cofounder of the Italian women’s liberation group Rivolta Femminile, and her refusal of power and rejection of masculine creativity that exploits female supportive activity.
Infiltrating the event, and substituting ICA front of house and cleaning staff, I performed a series of practical tasks. The main part of this work was directly addressed to the participants and speakers attending the symposium (welcoming the audience at the door, tearing their tickets and kissing each of the stubs before handing them back, dusting the stage area, and pouring water for the speakers). Once the symposium was underway I left the room and my labour continued in the foyer. With my hands tied behind my back and a feather duster in my mouth, I cleaned the reception, foyer and bookshop areas. Taking place in parallel to the event, this durational task was literally invisible to its primary audience (and its only existing documentation are the two pictures featured here, taken by an accidental passer by). As a whole, the piece hoped to echo notions relevant to the symposium's themes (the act of caring profoundly as labour, the invisibility of that labour, the feminisation of the workforce, etc.).
Helena Reckitt has written an academic article about the event as a whole, as part of it she mentions the contribution this piece made whilst claiming a peripheral standpoint. You can find it below, jump to page 107 to read her description.
Images courtesy of Christian Luebbert.
What the f**k is social reproduction? An introduction by Plan C
Now You Can Go: on social reproduction (documentation)