The representation of physical labour in art has shifted from a historically aestheticised position toward something less tangible, less celebrated, and more dystopian in its critique of hyper-capitalism, and the new (and outdated) dynamics of economic production today. WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK presents a variety of artistic and theoretical approaches regarding representations of labour in contemporary art and culture. With a nod to past representations, it maps the past to the present day – with a view to the future.

Questioning how contemporary representations of labour differ from those of the past, it examines how the Fordist realities of workers underpinning the (current) cheap labour market are still on the periphery of our collective consciousness, despite (and perhaps due to) a shift to an increasingly techno-capitalist, immaterial, digital economy. The content traverses themes of class, race, gender, the non-human and the post-colonial condition, all within the context of current (and historical) labour forces and the global economy.

With contributions from a range of disciplines, mediums and positions, WORK manifests itself here as an experimental web platform. New content by commissioned artists, academics and thinkers is regularly released here, as well as a range of related exhibitions, talks, publications and other relevant content.

WORK is a project created by David Ashley Kerr, facilitated by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and generously supported by Kone Foundation.