Installation view of Brett Wallace's show “Working Conditions” at Nurture Art gallery

march 16 - April 14, 2019

 

Photo: David Riley

 

Working Conditions, a solo exhibition by Brett Wallace, investigates the consequences and implications that new technologies such as artificial intelligence and algorithm-driven platforms have had in restructuring the relationships contracted workers have to their employers, their labor, and themselves.  

 

The exhibition is composed of several workstations, each of which includes video essays comprised of both documentary and archival footage, such as advertisement copy, interviews with workers, and footage of protests. These video essays place the lived realities of workers in juxtaposition with representations crafted by PR departments—who describe these services in highly-abstracted and euphemistic terms such as the “sharing economy,” “gig economy,” and “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” etc.

BRETT WALLACE

Girl and Alexa studying. Brooklyn, New York. February 2019., 2019

Archival pigment print

20h x 30w in
50.80h x 76.20w cm

BW060

Portrait of Brett Wallace. Pencil on Paper by Phong Bui for the Brooklyn Rail, April 2019

 

BROOKLYN RAIL: Art  INCONVERSATION
BRETT WALLACE with Andreas Petrossiants
Rethinking artistic production to build cooperation and new models to reclaim dignity in work

 

see link to the Brooklyn Rail article below

BRETT WALLACE WORKING CONDITIONS

at NURTURE ART

56 Bogart Street

March 16 – April 14, 2019

Working Conditions, a solo exhibition by Brett Wallace, investigates the consequences and implications that new technologies such as artificial intelligence and algorithm-driven platforms have had in restructuring the relationships contracted workers have to their employers, their labor, and themselves.  

The exhibition is composed of several workstations, each of which includes video essays comprised of both documentary and archival footage, such as advertisement copy, interviews with workers, and footage of protests. These video essays place the lived realities of workers in juxtaposition with representations crafted by PR departments—who describe these services in highly-abstracted and euphemistic terms such as the “sharing economy,” “gig economy,” and “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” etc. 

One of the workstations, Mechanical Turk Workers, is comprised of two monitors installed on a typical office desk among paperwork and office supplies. One monitor plays interview testimonials of workers who earn extra cash in their spare time by performing micro-work tasks at piece-work rates on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. A second monitor plays a video of a typical task, identifying and tagging images an artificial intelligence program could not identify without assistance from a human being. 

In Truckers, a bed, not unlike those found in the cabs of long-haul trucks, rests on the floor against a vinyl backdrop. A monitor mounted overhead plays a video essay in which experts and truck drivers discuss the rise in surveillance in the trucking industry; how new technologies enable employers to continuously monitor not only the trucks but also the drivers’ bodies.  

HQ2 is a workstation composed of eighty cardboard shipping boxes, each screen-printed with the word “DATA.” A monitor in the stack plays videos of protests and city council hearings on the proposal to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Long Island City. Another video on the floor shows a girl interacting with an in-ground light at the proposed HQ2 location as if it were Amazon’s virtual assistantdevice, Alexa. 

Working Conditions is an investigation that is half-sculptural, engaging in the embodied, physical reality of labor; and half-journalistic, reporting on major cultural events as well as presenting oral narratives from those affected most. The exhibition asks what are the ethical boundaries at stake when corporations disrupt industries and labor practices with new technologies? What shifts will we see in labor markets and how will they affect future struggles for workers rights, livelihood, and dignity? What is the future for workers?

 

 

Brett Wallace is a New York-based artist whose practice involves an exploration of the future of work. His work spans writing, photography, experimental/ documentary video, performance and installation. Wallace is also the founder AMAZING INDUSTRIES—an R&D startup-as-artwork that demystifies the future of work and advocates for workers in the digital age. His work has been shown at Silas Von Morisse Gallery, New York, SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2018, New York, Reshaping Work, Amsterdam, Satellite Art Show 2018 and has been reviewed and mentioned in ARTnews, Artslant, Hyperallergic and WHITEHOT magazine. Wallace is currently a member of NEW INC, the world’s first museum led incubator created by the New Museum.

Image: Girl and Alexa studying. Brooklyn, New York. February 2019. 2019, Archival pigment print, 20 x 30 inches.

Press

THE NEW YORK TIMES New York Art Galleries: What to See Right Now; BRETT WALLACE at NURTURE ART
April 4, 2019
BROOKLYN RAIL BRETT WALLACE with Andreas Petrossiants ; Rethinking artistic production to build cooperation and new models to reclaim dignity in work
April 3, 2019
ARTNET NEWS BRETT WALLACE in Editors’ Picks: 18 Things Not to Miss in New York’s Art World This Week, by Sarah Cascone
March 11, 2019
BMOREART SATELLITE: THE MIAMI ART FAIR FOR ARTISTS CARA OBERDECEMBER 13, 2018
Hyperallergic Brett Wallace | Spring Break Is an Oasis for Art Fair Haters by Hrag Vartanian
ARTSLANT The Marginal Labor Left For Humans: Brett Wallace’s Amazing Industries by Joel Kuennen
ART NEWS In Seventh Edition Spring/Break, Strange as Ever, Responds to World’s Tense Cultural Climate by Alex Greenberger and Claire Selvin
ARTFORUM SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW ANNOUNCES SEVENTH EDITION VENUE AND CURATORS
NEW INC (The NEW MUSEUM Cultural Incubator) BRETT WALLACE PART-TIME MEMBER (Sept 2017 - 2018)
BRETT WALLACE Official Website for AMAZING SHIPPING Gift Shop