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UAL Research Online

Work in the Dark

Cain, Ben (2012) Work in the Dark. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Cain, Ben

In 2012 Cain was commissioned by curator Cuauhtémoc Medina to create a new work for ‘Manifesta 9: The Deep of the Modern’ in Genk, Belgium. ‘Manifesta’ is the only itinerant European Biennial of contemporary art and together with the Venice Biennale and Documenta, Kassel, is one of the foremost art events of Europe. Each edition is staged in different European city, distancing itself from recognised ‘art captials’, and generally taking a thematic approach in relation to its location. ‘Manifesta 9 ‘ was set in the Limburg, Belgium. Once a big coal producing centre, this, and most of its other heavy industry, have now declined or closed down to leave large derelict or unused spaces behind, and all of the attendant consequences for the economy and the people of the area. Cain’s sculptural installation ‘Work in the Dark’ takes this local issue of de-industrialisation and links it to wider global issues of out-sourced and ‘immaterial’ labour. The project simultaneously negotiates the problematics and tensions between the romanticisation of labour or the fetishisation of craft and the material object, and the (opposing) economic view that treats the work force as a disembodied, abstract resource apparently free from geography, politics and human needs. Cain’s installation transforms the former working space of the Waterschei mine with an array of sculptural objects (suggestive of machinery but without an apparent purpose) and text posters inspired by the calligraphy of early modernity, lying in an indeterminate place between the past and the future, along with ornamental motifs borrowed from the coal mine itself. As a workshop without any apparent capacity to manufacture objects it operates instead as a workshop inviting from the viewer speculative thought, dialogue and projections - a workshop in reverse, in that here objects and materials lead to ideas and plans, rather than vice versa.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 2012
Related Websites: http://catalog.manifesta9.org/en/, http://catalog.manifesta9.org/en/ben-cain-audience-and-interaction/, http://catalog.manifesta9.org/en/ben-cain-about-his-research/
Related Websites:
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
‘Manifesta 9: The Deep of the Modern’, Genk, Belgium2012
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2014 10:26
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2014 10:26
Item ID: 6370
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/6370

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