SEWING UNIFORMS TOGETHER TO MAKE A SHELTER
MARCH 9 - 17, 2015
1009 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX
Work Won’t Kill You was a two-phased art project that began with a public performance staged as an experiment to investigate the degree to which workers might assert their creative impulses within the confines of a highly structured work environment. The experiment was staged in an abandoned workplace and Ortiz, acting as director, boss and artist, hired workers to wear uniforms and create a shelter fabricated from uniforms.
Within the nine-day experiment, the directives were repetitive and mundane. The organizational structure was systematized. The hypothesis of this experiment was that even in a highly regulated work environment, workers would find a way to express themselves and leave their mark. This experiment considered the conflict between order and absurdity, focusing on when and how the worker might choose to act, invent or rebel. As part of the presentation, installation workers were portrayed in “glamour” shots wearing their uniforms, time sheets were posted next to the worker’s photos instead of exhibition labels, work tools and equipments were displayed as artifacts and a time-lapse video was projected to show the work in process.