Recent Work by Artists is a collaborative project investigating how artists’ workspace might function today – taking the form of installation, image production, office design, events and a catalogue.
Patterns of work are constantly shifting. Artists are now as likely to rent studios for the purposes of storage, sleep, exhibition, or administrative workspace as for fabricating actual material objects. Libraries are now designed for laptop research, group work, full-volume phone conferencing, and obligatory ‘quiet zones’; cafés function as hot-desking factories where power outlets, wifi, coffee and toilets form the basic ecosystem of labour. In new urban developments, productivity is a pivotal commodity, where work, leisure, and travel are choreographed in an endless circulation.
Domestic spaces look more and more like retail displays, while retail spaces have become social environments that are showrooms for online sales. A dinosaur retail model like Argos at first seems clunky and reliant on a logistics-heavy system and a monolith of catalogues with no products to be seen. On the flipside, Argos is ahead of its time with bars for buying and collecting, touch screens and minimal clutter. Can we read its ‘laminated book of dreams’ as a new code for no-collar labour?
As these spaces converge, the meaningful distinctions between production, consumption, economy and design can be blurred beyond recognition. What then, are the implications for artists’ work? We find ourselves at the intersection of these various transformations as they are literally under construction, questioning the inherent logic while at the same time trying to imagine new forms of collectivity and artistic production beyond the protocols of the everywhere office and the imperatives of creative work.
Recent Work By Artists is a renovation of the current site of Auto Italia, landscaping a production space within which to re-imagine the material conditions of artists’ work. The exhibition functions as a co-working space and studio for online, print, social, and sculptural production. The collaboratively designed space hosts events and discussions, a daily work environment, and on-going research, supplemented by refreshments and environmental controls selected for productivity. A catalogue of work, both performed and produced, marks the end of the project.
Recent Work by Artists continued through a series of month-long online residencies on the RWBA Blog. The blog was an alternative space to develop conversations, new artwork and distribute research around the themes of creative labour, co-working practices and work space design, and includes contributions from Rachel Pimm, Tim Ivison, Julia Tcharfas and George Moustakas.