The Open Data Institute, London presents a new ‘Data As Culture’ show – THINKING OUT LOUD, inspired by the way modern and traditional crafts are built with code. My previous work ‘8 Hours Labour’ has been re-presented as part of the show, and this time features an invition to buy my ‘work’.
Thinking Out Loud centres around musician, programmer and ODI Sound Artist in Residence, Alex McLean – made possible through a partnership with Sound and Music, through their Embedded artist residency programme – as well as ten of his collaborators. The works explore the ways in which humans have captured and encoded data throughout history, from the ancient art of weaving, and Inca quipu (a recording method using knotted strings) to live coding, and hacking woollen jumpers. The exhibition is interactive, ever-changing and radical, and includes artists who rarely exhibit in gallery environments.
There are some brilliant artists from the fields of both programming and craft, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet before. Since my 8 Hours Labour banner already resided in the ODI HQ, I was asked it it might formally be included in the show, as it also explores similar themes of how data and digital tools might inform traditional craftworks.
I decided to use the opportunity to also present the extension of the work – ‘Rates For The Job‘ – an invitation to buy my labour rather than my ‘work’. A detailed Purchase Order / Contract allows people to buy a day of my knitting labour at Arts Council England recommended rates, upon the understanding that they are only buying my artistic work, and not an artwork as object. The resulting knitted banner – 8 Hours Labour – serves only as a ‘receipt’ – a proof or document of that labour, and is in itself worth nothing.
This premise was originally conceived in 2014 when ODI asked me to present the large scale ‘Punchcard Economy’ banner, which was too large to exhibit, and so I resolved to knit a sample of the work – simply ‘8 Hours Labour’. I decided to charge simply for the labour it took to make and package the work – approximately 8 hours. This idea was subsequently presented at Kinetic Art Fair, where again I invited people to buy my labour rather than an art-object. Whilst many people understood and appreciated the idea, unfortunately I left the market without a single order.
If you’d like to buy 8 Hours Labour, you can contact me at worker[at]punchcardeconomy[dot]co[dot]uk