(Un)Seen Work: Traditions and Transitions:
Time Management and Efficiency on the Job
Download .pdf for WORKBOOK: Do You Have What it Takes
Much of my research for this project (outside the interviews themselves) is housed in the BreakRoom installation, seen here in the top row of images. The BreakRoom was entirely covered with silver insulation foam so visitors could write/press comments into the silver foil walls. The walls are sparse in most places and in other spots covered with framed images from the Grinnell workshops, a series of signs I found in 1989 in my old studio in Cedar Rapids (CSPS hall), signs from a soup factory, signs with directions for time card mistakes, and found objects related to work. All are arranged to simulate some factory or discount store break room from 1950 -1990ís. On a long central folding table are metal books made by participants about their work history and a library of books about work in our culture past and present. Nearby is a computer station where visitors can contribute their own work histories and philosophies. (www.unseenwork.com). The portable radio is playing Matthew Butlerís original audio piece combining talk radio discussions of work.
In the process of researching (Un)Seen Work, I visited the archives of many individuals, The Grinnell History Center, The Drake Library, The Herald Register and, of all places, the library at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. In the recycle section at FIT a friend found about thirty books from the 60ís through the 80ís on Time Management and Efficiency in the Workplace, testament to the height of our industrial age. The images are self-explanatory (or not) and highlight our cultureís obsession with Time as Money. The most ridiculous of these diagrams and forms have been transferred to metal creating sections for the large walk-in (Un)Seen Work book. The books themselves are in the BreakRoom for leisurely reading. Nearby is a video monitor of the selected interviews of Grinnell Workers edited by artist Matthew Butler (see video links on page I and 2.)