Body at work: a study circle on contemporary labour
Curated by Nikki Kane
Body at work: a study circle on contemporary labour is a curatorial project presented as a series of study circle sessions that use performance, reading meetings and discussions to explore issues of contemporary labour, with particular reference to experiences of the body and ‘choreographic’ approaches. In recent years, the nature and form of work for many people has drastically changed from physical and productive towards service-driven labour, but this shift and advances in technology have not led to freer lives or bodies. As debates around the patterns of contemporary work develop, this study circle contributes to these, working with choreographic performance, discussion and texts to connect these issues to a ‘human-scale’ and to experiences of the body. Two of the study circle sessions centre on a newly commissioned performance work by choreographer Peter Mills (Stockholm): ‘PETER in labour for consideration’. PETER, identity, artist, artwork, performance, person, offers themselves up for consideration. Exposing the contemporary labour practices of a freelance body, within a study circle we explore the regimes of control and power within our hyper individualist context, along with the burdening need for meaning as a part of our contemporary labour practices. The performance examines meaning, value and knowledge production for meaningful work, social life, and the dream of meaningfulness outside the capitalist echo chamber, allowing you to reflect, relax, and relate better to your role as a contemporary labourer.In addition to these performance sessions, a new publication is presented with written and visual contributions to contextualise these issues and extend the discussions, from Tom Holland (Glasgow), Clem Sandison (Glasgow), Adam Scarborough (Madrid), and Nicola Singh (Newcastle). This publication and additional sources will be the starting point for a meeting of the study circle, which will focus on discussion and debate around issues and experiences of contemporary labour.
With thanks to support from Joanna Warsza, Michele Masucci and all at CuratorLab at Konstfack; Erik Mellin at ABF Stockholm; Rebecca Hilton at Stockholm University of the Arts; Viviana Checchia; Lisa Rosendhal, Charlotte Fountaine.
Nikki Kane is an independent curator and a current PhD candidate at Edinburgh College of Art. Her AHRC-funded research there centres on the role of festivals in contemporary art careers, and is undertaken in partnership with Glasgow International and Edinburgh Art Festival.
She is a co-founder and director of Common Ground, a platform through which she has facilitated artist residencies in the Scottish Highlands and her Glasgow studio, and curated exhibitions and events. She also teaches in History of Art and Art and Design, and has 10 years of experience working with arts and cultural organisations in project management, production and administrative roles, in particular in the development and delivery of large-scale public art projects.