press release

Wikipedia describes work-to-rule as an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace. While still following safety and other regulations, working-to-rule is a deliberate slowdown in the production process as a form of protest. This procedure, also known as 'white strike', simply slows down production: an action less disruptive than a strike and less susceptible to disciplinary action as the elementary rules are being obeyed.

Along with alluding to a need for a general slowdown and the question of the existence of 'surplus labour', the exhibition title additionally derives from a possible misreading of the phrase. Today, in the matrix of advanced neo-liberal capitalism, the title could be read in the instructive mode as 'work to dominate' or 'work to succeed', referring to the models of subjectivity and flexibility characteristic of late capitalism.

The exhibition Be a Happy Worker: Work-to-Rule! considers different perspectives and concepts of work and labour, the 'slowing down' of work, the quality of work and life in past and present working conditions, the global division of labour and creative reflections on industrial and postindustrial labour. On the other hand, the exhibition touches upon the nostalgia for a time of belief in industrial modernization, in the light of the destinies of workers after the transformations and dissolution of the factories in East Europe. Furthermore, the exhibition presents works of artists from the wider region that deal with political and social aspects of the recent transformations in the time of wild capitalism in Eastern Europe and the glorification of the West as a heaven of entrepreneurial possibilities. The continually relevant issues of gender division of labour, the 'invisibilty' of women's labour and the ever more complex relation betwee n labour and leisure are also addressed. Mapping different perspectives, artistic strategies and the heterogeneous ways they have dealt with this complex subject from the perspective of 'New Europe', Be a Happy Worker: Work-To-Rule! reflects the history of work, the aspects of the transformation of past working conditions and a wide range of issues regarding the immaterial labour that concerns us all today.

The exhibition 'Be a Happy Worker: Work-to-Rule' is part of the collaborative project Land of Human Rights by< rotor >association for contemporary art/ Graz, University of J.E. Purkyne/ Usti nad Labem, riesa efau | Motorenhalle/ Dresden, Trafo Gallery/ Budapest, Galerija Skuc/ Ljubljana, g - mk | galerija miroslav kraljevic/ Zagreb

only in german

Be a Happy Worker: Work-to-Rule!
Kuratoren: Ivana Bago & Antonia Majaca / Non-Alligned CF

mit Zbynek Baladran, Tanja Dabo, Reinigungsgesellschaft  & Miklos Erhardt, Igor Grubic, Sanja Ivekovic, Helmut Kandl & Johanna Kandl, Kristina Leko, Pavel Mrkus, Société Réaliste