Despite Efficiency: Labour

Despite Efficiency: Labour

Herbert Read Gallery at University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury

Mirko Nikolic, All that is air melts into city, 2014. Courtesy of the artist. Design by Rafa Prada.
November 27, 2014
Despite Efficiency: Labour

Until 12 December 2014

Herbert Read Gallery
University for the Creative Arts
New Dover Road

“The true goal of the system, the reason it programs itself like a computer, is the optimization of the global relationship between input and output—in other words, performativity.”
Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition 

Inefficiency can be understood as an effort without reward; as the negative result of a system designed to produce a benefit, to be profitable. In relation to present conditions of labour, the dialectic of efficiency/inefficiency is at the core of new working paradigms. From life-hackers who propose efficient uses of technology to minimize the time spent at work, to the vindication of sleep and its power to resist capital’s constant demand of attention, and from the rise of the artist’s job—self-motivated, flexible, instable—as exemplary, to the reliance of many creative industries on the exploitation of unpaid work (internships), labour is today intimately connected to debates around (in)efficiency. Taking this panorama, the project Despite Efficiency: Labour aspires to create a (working) space where these ideas can be played out in different formats and shapes, independently of their utility.

Despite Efficiency: Labour consists of two phases. The first one involves the guest architecture and design studio Aberrant Architecture collaborating with students to transform the Herbert Read Gallery into a stage for (in)efficient work. Once built, and over a three-week period, the transformed gallery hosts a number of live performances, videos and other time-based projects presented by a group of international artists interested in situations and models of unprofitable, futile or ineffective work.

Curated by Emma Brasó.

Exhibition design: BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students, UCA + Aberrant Architecture, London

Video works: Marilou Lemmens and Richard Igbhy, Terry Perk and Ed Oliver, Kleines Postfordistisches Drama, Greta Alfaro and Inutile d’insister /with Stéphane Trois Carrés.

Calendar of performances
All events are at the Herbert Read Gallery, unless otherwise specified

21 November, 5–8pm
Performance by Marilou Lemmens and Richard Igbhy

26 November
The right left by Fermín Jiménez Landa across Kent and Surrey

3 December, 10am–5pm
Office of Ecological Labour: Surfacing Deep Correlation, by Mirko Nikolic

10 December, 6pm
Name Readymade by Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša at Turner Contemporary, Margate

11 December, from 5pm until late
Book launch and performance by Salon Flux in collaboration with Jane Frances Dunlop followed by live visuals & music at UCA’s Bar.


The project has been supported by Recreate and ICR, two initiatives selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme Interreg IV A France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Despite Efficiency: Labour, at Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury

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Herbert Read Gallery at University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury
November 27, 2014

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