This is the second of two large-scale prints I created at the Justseeds’ exhibition “Uprisings! Images of Labor” in Milwaukee in 2013. The idea behind the exhibition was to create representations of contemporary labor, but I find it increasingly difficult to clearly articulate what labor looks like in the United States in 21st Century. With cell phones, tablets, blanket wi-fi, and more and more precarious jobs, there is an expectation that we can and will be willing to work all the time. For more and more people there is no longer clear geographical distinctions between the work place and anywhere else, and less and less temporal distinctions as well.
I tried to get at some of this precarity and lack of clarity by highlighting two prominent phrases from the Communist Manifesto, but removing the operative words. In this case, what is the only thing we have to lose? For Marx and Engels, it was “chains” and these chains were imposed on us externally. Now we are so integrated into our own caging, the chains of labor often look like “fun” activities: narrating our lives on social media, promoting our kickstarter campaigns, promoting books we like on goodreads. These are all things that make money for other people—where our wage is more qualitative than quantitative. How do we lose chains we so love? I don’t think my goal with these pieces is to answer these questions, but to ask them.
The first print in this series is available HERE.
You can buy both at once for a discount HERE.