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Working Hard or Hardly Working

An exhibition exploring the ideas, theories, social impacts, creative output, and processes surrounding labour.

All week at Veem | Floor 2 | Strijp-S

As designers we are faced with the manifestation of our creative labours. How much is our work worth, and have we worked enough? What kind of labour makes something more valuable and how do we profit from slow or visible work?

However one defines labour, society is challenging the value of work and its importance on our global well-being. Visibility and ethical labour sourcing have become factors in the branding and acceptance of both small and large companies. Stemming from the current obsession with the handmade, craft is having a real moment in the spotlight. Coveralls, denim, and Japanese workwear are flooding the runways. The physical workspace fluctuates to promote a certain outcome, and plans of interplanetary settlement are raising discussions about multispecies labour. This is occurring at a time when the rise of the influencer not only hides the work that it takes to do something, but also promotes an aestheticism of constant effortlessness. We want to be known for working hard, but to look like we are hardly working. Whether it’s an analysis of the historical socio-economic impact that to labour has had on the minority, the current repercussions of a technological productivity filled with tools designed only for able-bodied men, or a linguistic approach to the definition of labour, this exhibition showcases the different perspectives on this theme.

Maria Beaumaster

Women have been vastly left out of cultural and historical documentation. Without this it is easy for current struggles to be dismissed. I don’t want to be dismissed and I don’t want to be silenced. To be silenced is not only about lack of representation, but how we are branded for simply being. During this work many people have challenged my intentions. Like a word, anger can be a tool. My labour can be used to validate past actions traditionally associated with the label, or brand, of being.

Erik van Schaften

The Unfinished Research of the Pseudo-Acacia
One day he discovered a tree. A fast growing, covered with spines, rapidly spreading, more than 20-meter-high piece of untamed nature. A hard wooded, North American and poisonous weed, called the Robina pseudo-acacia. The tree is the moment of collaboration. Atelier Schaft is commissioned to stretch the historical/ contextual and material opportunities of this ‘weedy crop’. So that Rob can implement these findings into his art practice.

Maja Pop Trajkova

Searching for a stranger to talk to
This project is an investigation in the relationship between time and object. Originally designed as an award object that was commissioned by The Ministry of Culture, Education and Science for the Jos Brink Award in 2019, the project contains thirty conversations made with LGBTQI+ individuals. As a process, the project became an active search for vulnerability - where vulnerability, on its own hand, searches out for the confrontation with that which has not yet been integrated.

Zsofia Kollar

Killing You Softly
Killing You Softly is a reflection on our consumer culture. On a culture, which while comforting our needs, softly destroys us. Hyper-consumerism has spread globally, and its tactics of persuasion have established a material culture where the hardcore whirlwind of information and the dense wilderness of materials have engaged a large part of most societies and cultures. The work is an interpretation of how we see products and how much of our identities are represented by the products we own.

Adam Bletchly

Whole Earth Trilogy
What was alchemist is now scientist, identifiable by supposed malevolence and sterility. Represented as peddling that which is not ‘natural’. Planting a seed containing ideas for the next millenia. Slowly taking root. But on what nurtured ground will it flourish? Working within the tradition of narrative weaving, these artworks serve to explore the creation of a visual language around the subjects of: nuclear power, cities and GE crops.

Herbert Luciole

Tools for a Postcapitalist transition
Herbert Luciole - (Barnaby Monk & Laetitia Migliore) explore, iterate and evolve a variety of different tools that seek to facilitate and drive a Postcapitalist transition.

Maria Tyakina

The Fold lamp is characterized by a refined manual craftsmanship with the material properties of a thin piece of sheet metal. The manual force that is applied by body weight and hands has been used to stress the metal beyond its yield strength to modify its geometry, causing the material to plastically deform, but not to fail. Using manual labor instead of conventional mechanical techniques and machinery allows the material to dictate the way it must be manipulated.

Carolina Valente Pinto

Lean On - a story on pleasure and power
In a near future, we are transported to the inside of Orgasmify, a company-turned-cult. In the centre of this business is Sheryl Sandberg, the leader. She is Facebook’s former COO, and after a ground breaking discovery into the power of orgasmic energy, Sheryl is determined to change the world and put all women reaching their full potential. This is the premise for a story that investigates love and intimacy in today’s career-driven culture, through a critique of corporate feminism.

Esther Vane

Home is Where the Art is
A short documentary film questioning the role of art in society but also the position of the artist and the position of the worker, the craftsman and the relationship between the two. A reflection on the art institution Esther Vane was educated in. What goal does the institution have and what do they expect from us? What is viewed as good or interesting art within the art institute, but also outside of it? But most importantly: what kind of education do we need?

Pien Post

Domestic Traces
Domestic Traces retraces the presence of “the housewife” and her physical labour trough the old Dutch tradition of making sand-carpets.