A new job to unwork at
Organized by Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Phase One: March 9 – April 17, 2016
Artspace New Haven. Phase Two: December 2, 2016 – March 4, 2017
A new job to unwork at is constituted by two nodes: an interdisciplinary research platform that occupied the Project Space at LACE (Los Angeles, CA) for five weeks in the spring of 2016, and an exhibition at Artspace (New Haven, CT) in the fall-winter 2016-2017. Its overarching premise is to consider the role of work as a dominant life-structuring force in contemporary societies, with a focus on spheres of cultural production.
So far Andrew Kachel and I have realized the first phase of this project. This took the shape of an interdisciplinary research platform involving a core working group of Los Angeles-based artists and curators. The project presented a series of private meetings and public programs that examined the role of work as a dominant life-structuring construct. Participants and audiences were invited to engage in a “material-theoretical discussion” that considered the project’s motivating questions— e.g. What is work? How do we do it? What do we include or exclude within its boundaries? What are the negative effects and strategic advantages of organizing our activities under this banner? Our research traversed different formats, offering insight into participants’ individual working methods and the questions they bring to bear. The project also looked at inserting 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.
Participants included 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 began on March 9, 2016 with an introductory presentation in the LACE Project Space from 7PM-10PM. During the closing weekend on April 14-17, 2016, a series of events will verbalize some conclusions, share strategies, and mobilize ideas that emerged during the research process. This included the screening Net Incidents Collide curated by project participant Dylan Mira.
The project takes its title from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (1968).
More information about the project and the research we did together throughout the 5 weeks the group was meeting on anewjobtounworkat.tumblr.com
This blog is intended as a platform to share our research. All the readings proposed for the discussions as well as other materials used by the collective research are available there too.
Andrew and I are currently working on the 2nd phase of the project that will take place in New Haven’s Artspace between December 2nd, 2016 and March 4, 2017. Is it really working in New Haven will work with the research possibilities of the exhibition as a format to think through the core questions and issues of work, labor and their relationship to subjectivity formation in highly developed capitalism. We are very excited because we know that so far we will be working with Anna Betbeze, Park McArthur, Constantina Zavitsanos, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, YES! Association/Föreningen JA!, Erica Love & João Enxuto, and more t.b.a.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS of the LA chapter
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 of. 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.
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-based artist commissions. She has presented collaborative projects at Magasin-Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble; Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Oslo; SOMA, Mexico City, among others. She invited Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel to develop A new job to unwork at in the LACE Project Room.
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.