Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir’s “WERK – Labor Move”
              Kimberly Bradley
              Much of the material labor that drives the western world—rubbish collection, farming land, fulfilling Amazon Prime orders—is invisible. Or, in its most exploitative forms, has been made invisible, disappeared for consumers’ benefit in fortress-like fulfillment centers or unsafe garment factories in the Global South. Yet in Hulda Rós Guðnadóttir’s exhibition, manual labor is highlighted, abstracted, and aestheticized. In an elongated, darkened exhibition hall in the Reykjavik Art Museum’s harborside Hafnarhus location, more than 5,000 white cardboard boxes emblazoned in blue with the words “KEEP FROZEN AT -20 OR BELOW; FRESH FROZEN AT SEA” are stacked floor to ceiling; some jut out at regular intervals like decorative building bricks. Lining the walls almost entirely, they envelop the space. These particular boxes are empty, but normally each would contain 25 kilos of frozen fish, to be transported by freezer trawler to Rekyjavik’s harbor, where they are speedily unloaded by teams of dockworkers, entering the economy as one of Iceland’s primary natural resources (tourism only recently surpassed fish as its primary export). We see several of these workers in the three-channel video Labor Move (2016), installed on large, vertically oriented screens suspended at even intervals along the hall’s long interior wall. The on-screen protagonists are …

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