The Body of Work, Part I: One Hand Washes the Other
1. My father drove a truck for the Detroit auto industry.
2. I have begun to question the way(s) in which the body of labor is marked in the labor process, the industrial tattoo. I am particularly interested in instances which render the body of the laborer asymmetrical to a greater or lesser degree and theorize that all bodies similarly engaged are thus marked.
3. The work so far completed constitutes the first of three planned installations, a trilogy of the working body, if you will. Each part is seen as autonomous yet contributory to the larger whole. The entire undertaking has been called "The Body of Work" and this first third of it is entitled "One Hand Washes the Other." In this installation the perhaps most blatant example of the labor-mark is investigated; instances in which the laborer's finger(s) are amputated in the work process, 16,000 fingers annually in the United States alone. The next component of the trilogy will interrogate the migration of these parts of bodies, this asymmetricality, to the developing nations: the new international division of labor.
4. I fabricated –cast– one at a time, 16,000 fingers in the studio. Initially a great interest and excitement in the newness (for me) of the chore: how to produce more quickly, more efficiently and smoothly, how to maintain a consistently high quality in the product and to simultaneously reduce the expenditure of time in the process. But as weeks and then months go by, the excitement yields to mechanical production, the utter homogenization of gesture, aches and blisters in the same, inevitable spots. And finally, of course, boredom, boredom to the extreme. I have managed to recreate the work site and process.