To continue our digital programme we've got another 2 instalments from one of our residents artists, Glen Ogden. Read about his latest performances, After You and Package and Deliver, and watch them over on his Youtube channel. You can also see more of his work on Instagram @glenthemaker.
“Package & Deliver” (2020) is a durational performance that explores management failures in a satirical manner, demonstrated in a cast of untrained employees and unbalanced workloads. It consists of four workers captured on a CCTV feed assembling, packing, sealing and dismantling boxes; mimicking the contemporary world of factory work. The context of the work draws from the rapidly growing delivery sector and the once unimaginable ability to have anything you want delivered the next day with just a single click. I oppose this efficient dynamic by removing the end goal of delivering the parcel, endlessly reversing the work of the roles. This deliberately contradicts the research of behavioural economist - Dan Ariley (TED, 2013), using negative motivation as a method to touch on low job satisfaction. By replacing the customer’s desired package with additional packaging, I patronisingly mock Amazon's excessive use of materials in an era of ever growing environmental concern: online retail producing 10,000 tonnes of packaging waste in 2018. (Williams, 2020)
Through the use of an aerial shot to document the unfolding chaos, I strip away the identity of each worker leaving the viewer to associate each performer as their work station; emphasising the reduction of our humanity to a cog in a machine. The notion of oppressed identity underlies the body of work, evident in the “Sand Shifters” (2020) interview sequence; that humorously implements the employee names as a synonym of their role in the team - inspired by ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist ’. We see this reduction unknowingly in society; most initial conversations upon meeting open with one of the first questions as, “What do you do?” Instantly conceived as our working role in society; condensing us into a category and a prejudgement on intelligence, drive, ambition and background - so early on. “Such interactions reinforce the contention that in a fluid industrial society occupation is the principal determinant of social status” (Super, 1976). Drawing attention to this, I grant the viewer a realisation of our instinctive comprehension to impact social change; using meaningful factors to cast judgments of value in society. The body of work employs an industrial setting; an old textile factory. A curatorial decision to transfer the comfort of locality to the working class; whilst serving as a reminder of residual class judgement and exclusivity as the global and social backdrop of contemporary society. I ridicule historical notions of galleries and museums as ‘open spaces’, critiquing institutional accommodation of the wealthy by reversal; granting favour to the unfavoured. I use the aesthetic of CCTV as a means to assist with the display, I exaggerate an essence of privacy present to the viewer; granting them insight to a usually unobserved setting. Window Wipers move from window to window; “After You” (2020) condenses the operation to a single pane, allowing for the output of the futile process to gather at the feet of the performers as a physical measurement of progression. This performance differs from the prior one; as it focuses on how we work, and specifically, our development of techniques revealed through repetitive exploration as a form of learning; this is evident not only in the workplace but also in my own practice.
- Glen Ogden