EUGENIA LIM | ON DEMAND
Gertrude Glasshouse || 44 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
Opening: Thursday 10 October, 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: 11 October - 9 November
This is a pedal-powered work. You are invited to sit on a bicycle to cycle and work up a sweat to activate the work.
Made in collaboration with workers from the gig economy, ON DEMAND is a pedal-powered video work that considers work, labour, solidarity and movement (political and physical) in the neoliberal present. Living and working in the 21st-century brings precarity, competition and mobility – both for independent artists and ‘independent contractors’ of the gig economy. Self-exploitation, low wages and zero-hour contracts are shared terrain for many workers across both the cultural and service sectors.
Five workers of the gig economy (‘independent contractors’ for companies such as Uber, Airtasker and Foodora) answered the artist’s call out for ‘worker–performer’ collaborators. The worker–performers have diverse backgrounds: a family history of union and labour politics; a privileged upbringing in Pakistan; a degree in psychology; volunteer work with asylum seekers; a member of a death metal band; and artistic practice in photography and writing. Each worker–performer was interviewed by the artist, and their words and experiences appear in edited form in the work’s voiceover, as do the worker–performers themselves in the video. Lim paid each worker–performer the Australian Miscellaneous Award 2010 rate plus a provision for superannuation for their time – a gesture towards fair work conditions not generally guaranteed for gig workers or independent artists. This video work is the result of their collective negotiation – of stories, histories, movements and bodies. Lim finds a space for herself within this negotiation, inspired by her artist-hero Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ pioneering ‘work ballets’ and ongoing role as unsalaried artist-in-residence with the New York Sanitation Department. ON DEMAND is part of Lim’s ongoing enquiry into cultural production, social reproduction and living and working in the digital age.
Originally commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre (C-A-C)
Director, writer, editor, worker–performer Eugenia Lim
Cinematographer Alex Cardy
Choreography Nat Cursio
Composer Becky Sui Zhen
Worker–performers Cher Tan, Alberto Vescance, Benjamin Pitt, Wasay and Darren Tan
Gaffer Hannah Palmer
Camera assistant Bonita Carzino
Colour grade Chris Tomkins
Production advisor Alex George
Design/production assistant (Glasshouse) Jackie Miller
Install support (Glasshouse) Steven Smith, Jackie Miller
Voiceover Eugenia Lim
Studio angel Roslyn Helper
Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist who works across video, performance and installation. Interested in how nationalism and stereotypes are formed, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world. Lim has exhibited, performed or screened at Tate Modern, EXiS (Seoul), ACCA, ACMI, Next Wave, FACT Liverpool, 24HR Art (Darwin), Substation (Singapore), Experimenta, Sydney Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Melbourne Festival, Dark MOFO, Bus Projects and MPavilion. Lim has received a number of Australia Council for the Arts grants and residencies, and was artist-in-residence at the Experimental Television Centre NY and on exchange at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 2016, Lim undertook a residency at Bundanon Trust; at the studio of Shen Shaomin as a 4A Beijing Studio resident; and was artist-in-residence with the Robin Boyd Foundation. Her work is held in a number of private and public collections. Collaboration and the intersection between art and society informs Lim’s practice: she co-directed the inaugural Channels Festival, is the co-writer and host of Video Becomes Us, an artist-made ABC iView TV series on video art and is co-director of experimental art company APHIDS. Eugenia is a Gertrude Studio Artist 2018-2020.
The artist would like to thank
Cher, Alberto, Darren, Benjamin and Wasay for taking a chance, Jackie Miller, Quino and Ida Holland, the boss-femme film crew, Wyndham Cameron, Piers Morgan and Fieldwork, Dale Holden, Adam Harding and Madé Spencer-Castle at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Anatol Pitt at Bus Projects, Adam Porter, Paul Welch and Nathan Moore at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Amos Gebhardt, Andrew Treloar, Alan Macgill, APHIDS and the team at Gertrude Contemporary.
The 2019 Gertrude Glasshouse exhibition program is generously supported by The City of Yarra.