Ada Dragomir, Strike (still), 2018, video projection with plinth, matches. Courtesy of Jessica Li.

Ada Dragomir, Strike (still), 2018, video projection with plinth, matches. Courtesy of Jessica Li.

Ada Dragomir, Carla Mark’s Beauty Routine ASMR (still), 2019, video. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, Carla Mark’s Anti-Capitalist ASMR (still), 2019, video. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, 24/7, 2019, beesewax, fiberoptic cable, 8.25 x 15.87 x 5.71. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, i will have to clean this up, 2019, performance with ice, dirt, broomstick. Courtesy of the artist.

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Ada Dragomir, Strike (still), 2018, video projection with plinth, matches. Courtesy of Jessica Li.

Ada Dragomir, Strike (still), 2018, video projection with plinth, matches. Courtesy of Jessica Li.

Ada Dragomir, Carla Mark’s Beauty Routine ASMR (still), 2019, video. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, Carla Mark’s Anti-Capitalist ASMR (still), 2019, video. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, 24/7, 2019, beesewax, fiberoptic cable, 8.25 x 15.87 x 5.71. Courtesy of the artist.

Ada Dragomir, i will have to clean this up, 2019, performance with ice, dirt, broomstick. Courtesy of the artist.

Selected

Against Working

Virtual

Please note that this exhibition is postponed until further notice to ensure the health and safety of our community and to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

***

Against Working is a solo exhibition of my work that uses lens-based media including video, projection, and performance to interrogate raced and gendered modes of work, question the nature of production and maintenance, and speak to the precarious, part-time, digitized, and contingent nature of labour today.

Viewers will be invited into The Toast Collective by the rhythmic loop of Strike—a projection of three thousand matches glued into the word “strike” being set ablaze over and over again. Farther back into the gallery, spectators will be able to view two satirical ASMR videos on small cell phone screens embedded directly into the wall. Interspersed throughout the installation will be bed-shaped candles which burn from both ends.

In the spirit of millennial humour, Against Working harnesses video’s ubiquitous populism and simultaneous marginality within art discourses in order to poke fun at connections between capitalism, digital culture, and work. Against Working can be read both as a refusal to work in the sense of politicizing laziness and in the sense that one is “forced up against” or “squeezed in beside” work.

Also included are two related live performances: one involving small frozen balls of swept-up gallery detritus which I push around with a bristle-less broom, and another involving a pink toilet, powdered charcoal, linseed oil, and an excerpt from “Bartleby the Scrivener,” a short story by Herman Melville. The absurdity of these acts highlights the invisible, racialized, and gendered nature of cleaning up.

My concern with work and unproductivity is inspired not only by my status as an emerging artist who hustles between cleaning jobs and my final year of art school, but also by the slow process of learning to push back against a deeply ingrained “immigrant work-ethic.” In the disembodied, digitized, gig economy of neoliberal cities like Vancouver, Against Working asks viewers to think about the complexities of labour, both within and beyond the institutions of art.

 

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