Subscribe

Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Trench

This piece was created when I was still at art school and was one of the first pieces I made exploring my socio-political interests. The concept concerns how one is valued in society. The majority of people work a standard day and what they can accomplish in that time reflects their net worth to their community. Taking manual work as a easily measurable physical example of my net worth I spent 8 hours digging and filling in a trench.

Read More

At the time it was a live performance but from then on it is simply a record of an event. That earth was moved, I did it and I will always have done it. The piece works on many levels. You can see literally what I am worth to you if you were to hire me for a manual task. On another level it demonstrates the futility of most people’s daily lives. In the end nothing was accomplished. The trench was filled in. I didn’t get paid. It was the ultimate pointless exercise. The only accomplishment was through my sweat and blood and blistered hands I made myself an instrument of my work, suffering to highlight an issue. It is artist as campaigner.

What it did was change me. I realised, through doing the task, what drudgery most people’s lives are. There is a conceit attached to it though that I can’t escape. For me this was a choice. Young, white, male at art school – that is a situation rife with the visible and invisible privileges of my situation. It just did it for a day. It showed me the difficulty of commenting on a situation from the outside looking in. It can be seen as naïve or even patronizing. The truth is though we are all wage slaves in one way or another. There is an absurdist futility to much of what most of us do.

Read Less

Share: