Re:working Labor

Friday, September 20Wednesday, November 27

Sullivan Galleries

Curated by SAIC faculty members Ellen Rothenberg and Daniel Eisenberg, the Re:Working  Labor exhibition was developed through a two-year research process in collaboration with  re:work, the IGK International Research Centre “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History”  at Humboldt University in Berlin. The project included an international symposium in fall 2018  at SAIC and culminated with this fall 2019 exhibition. 

Re:Working Labor offered critical and creative responses to the complexities of contemporary  labor, from global perspectives of waged labor to the pressing issue of anthropogenic climate  change in a world driven by accumulation, expansion, and acceleration. Featuring work by local,  national, and international artists, the exhibition offered a host of perspectives and reflections on  the possible futures of labor and the nature of work. The exhibition included four anchor projects:  a performative action by Mierle Laderman Ukeles and a new work by Ukeles made in  collaboration with SAIC alumnus Julian Flaven in addition to earlier documentation of her  historic work, Touch Sanitation; an installation of Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki’s global  project, Labour In a Single Shot, coupled with a 17 day free workshop for 22 Chicago participants  conducted by Ehmann and Eva Stotz that will add to the work’s ongoing archive; a newly  commissioned work by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama; and a screening series comprised of  five contemporary media programs curated by Aily Nash and Andrew Norman Wilson entitled  Image Employment that included video work by national and international artists Yuri Ancarani, Stephanie Comilang, Kevin Jerome Everson, Cao Fei, Harun Farocki, Fabien Giraud and Raphaël  Siboni, Riar Rizaldi, Pilvi Takala, Ryan Trecartin, Leilah Weinraub, Li Ziqi. 

These anchor works were supplemented by a series of smaller scale projects in counterpoint.  Many of these projects came out of the research undertaken during the symposium included  contributions by artist teams Josh Rios, Anthony Romero, and Deanna Ledezma; Julia Pello and  David Hall; John Preus working with local high school apprentice/collaborators, and the Chicago based Sweetwater Foundation; Caroline Woolard and Jessica Cook-Qurayshi; and individual  artists Nneka Kai, Carole Frances Lung, Stephanie Rothenberg, and Gregory Sholette. These  additional projects provided a complex web of associations and interweaving concerns. 

                      Daniel Eisenberg, The Unstable Object (II), 2016, Düzce, Turkey.