WORK

(ARBEIT)

2011

Multi-channel installation, HDV, color, sound
The Play,14’06”, Rehearsal,11’04” Interviews 16’09”, Hector’s Comment 7’44”

Employees of a Dutch insurance company were invited to explore the theme of “work” with a participatory theatre technique from the Theater of Oppressed. The project proposed the idea of a possible democratization of work. The Theatre of Oppressed was originally invented in Brazil to unmask totalitarian political strategies and to develop forms of resistance. Through the different techniques of the Theatre of Oppressed, participants start to detect and understand strategies of oppression and learn through acting the first steps of resistance or change. The Columbian Theater of Oppressed director Hector Aristizabal was invited to work for one week in the insurance company assisted by several actors. The installation shows different parts of the process of the week such as interviews, rehearsals, the play itself, and an analysis of the week by Hector Aristizabal. By exploring the influence of the company guidelines on the mentality of the employees and questioning strategies of using psychological knowledge to increase productivity “Work” tries to draw the line from the employee in the company to the citizen in a society. What is taught in the company will also be carried into the societal and political sphere. The company engages the concept of new work, which was developed in the 1980s by Frithjof Bergman by reevaluating views and understanding of freedom. The concept is often expressed through the increased flexibility of the work time and workspace. “Work” explores the complexities, potential problems and double binds present in this concept.

“Work” is produced by Kunsthalle Bern, supported by Mondriaan Fonds, The Nertherlands, Carola und Guenther Ertle- Ketterer Switzerland, and Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, The Netherlands.