rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
3. Potentials of Performance

15 June 2012

1. Minimum-Being


  A symbolic measurement of a minimum wage applied in concrete terms on (a) human-being, the performance of work disclosing its application.

   From now until the end of 2012, a bank of recordings of the performance of work will be collected from different countries across Europe. The minimum wage (or equivalent) in each country will provide the measure of time. The accumulation of material will set-up a dialogue, which articulates itself in the temporal enactment of labours in juxtaposition with each other, as tied to an economic measurement of time. The cut length of a recording will correspond to its actual labour value according to country at the time of recording. An arbitrary measurement, but nonetheless a concrete descriptor of Europe-specific economies of time and its performance. Does any performance lie outside this logic and the differing qualities of subjectivity which it produces?

   The starting point for this dialogue project will be collecting footage of the performance of work and cutting the length of each piece according to the hourly rate paid to the worker in relation to the minimum wage in that country. Material will include both found and recorded footage (video and sound).  The gathering, editing and juxtaposition of material is in order to initiate a exploration into the economic distortion of time and its experience, and to provoke a series of dialogues on how such an arbitrary, albeit necessary, though insidious measurement of time encapsulated by the concept and enactment of a minimum wage, affects the ways in which a person experiences time and the quality of his/her subjectivity.

   The cost of living versus the time available, slow versus fast, complex versus repetitive, killing time versus saving time. What is quality of life after the basics for survival are met (if they are met)? How can value be ascribed? How are different countries within Europe (and further afield) experiencing time in relation to labour? How is this impacted by neoliberal economics? How does the experience on the ground differ from the media’s representation of economic crisis and widespread austerity measures? How is this affecting the ways in which we live our lives and the time we have to encounter them? The irony is that the more we consume, the less time we have, an expensive life is a fast life. What happens to subjectivity when ‘being’ is coupled with economy? And what of reclaiming time?

   Of course the mediums of video and sound recording apply another distortion upon the experience and measurement of time and add the recorder’s own perspective to it. Found footage already exists in this distorted dimension and its selection is at another layer of remove.

Open call for submissions

I am accepting submissions of recordings of the performance of work, or of found footage (video and/or sound) of up to 15 minutes in length. Self-recordings also accepted. These will be posted on a blog: as part of: and will inform a series of performative encounters/actions on the economic distortion of time and its affect on subjectivity at the Potentials of Performance public event in October 2012 (watch this space). Submissions will also be used to create a short film and installation, to be mounted initially at this event and for a future incarnation in 2013.

Please get in touch for details of how to submit:
All submissions (both found and recorded footage) will be credited. There is no limit to how many submissions you can make.

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