“Business is not a place we exist” –
The Invisible Committee - The Coming Insurrection, 2009
1. In the city, any city, there are columns of money that leave their lights on thru the night. The political necessity of the workplace, less about demand and more about order, leaves swathes of disembodied automaton actors sleepless and logged in. The hum and whirr of computers gently rattle stale water coolers, terabytes upload/download like the breath of holy men. This is the tabernacle, the incense is citrus-bleached detergent.
2. In Cesar Aira’s novella Ghosts, construction workers see naked apparitions on the fourth floor of an unfinished luxury apartment block – the main character’s burgeoning sensual self-awareness, corporeality, and ultimate reckoning is charged with socio-economic concerns. Who and what is visible in the haunted zone of capital?
3. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is a future of derelict culture, bled out and vanilla. A tweet tells us that in Hebrew ‘meta’ is the feminine form for ‘is dead.’ Meta embroiders the dull corporate torpor of office life into our every waking hour: content as the source of life, as obligation, as technocratic labour; to then soothe in feedback circuits, as medicine; as psychosis. Zuckerberg’s Infinite Office is the endless croak of individual productivity - life is an office, all images are ensnared atoms of labour caught in Zuckerberg’s bureaucratic wet-dream.
In Arthur Marie’s paintings, tracers from the limitless net of images firing out from data warehouses across the globe are rendered in obsessive eroticised oils. Surveillance images show us the fish-eye of an office space or the strange intervention of a toy truck riding a treadmill in a home gymnasium. An image of a windbreaker forming a small diy-tent in the corner of a room feels supernatural - private space that shouldn’t be seen by anyone, much less immortalised under rock hard varnish.
The spectral nature of Marie’s hyper-realist voyeurism is monitored by Chino Amobi’s Delphic, siren-like characters that emerge from pulsing monochrome voids. They can be read as pathfinders, straddling multiple worlds, like Aira’s naked ghosts. Amobi has discussed neuro-economics as the commodification of all thought and social interaction, life as the infinite office. These are modern day techno-sibyls glowing amongst the artist’s cyber-punk inflected semiology.
Hongxi Li’s chairs lay bare the impossibility of good health in a post-capital ruins. Chairs like At Work (2022) are buckled and contorted beyond their utilitarian function to reveal the lurking dynamics of biopower concealed in the design and architecture of corporatised society.
Together, these works form a cultural hellscape, they are fever dreams of corporatism, the mundane asphyxia of a managerial present.
— Ed Leeson