Plan 9

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Industry and Idleness / 4 - 20 March 2005

Industry and Idleness

"To what purpose is all the toil and bustle of this world? What end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power and pre-eminence?"
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)


Artists are no different from anyone else in their guilty need to see their own worth reflected in the eyes of others. Nobody wants to suffer the indignity of actually being a 'nobody'. The hard graft of the who- you-know and the where-you've-shown, the time consuming touting of your talent. Is this relentless toil a reflection of a selfless and uncontrollable urge to create? Probably not.

At a certain point a fear of failure is added to a fear of lovelessness. With the attainment of various badges of merit (arts degree, inclusion in the 'right' show, arts council funding, tenured teaching post and so on) one can't avoid claiming a certain proficiency. But, while it is ok to fail when you acknowledge ineptitude, no one wants the label 'loser' foisted on them for something they are supposed to be good at.

The architecture of 'Industry & Idleness' is drawn from this squirm of potential embarrassment. The Clean Collective - a disparate, desperately random collection of artists has commissioned the comparatively well-defined duo of Harrison & Hughes to act as artists, builders, collaborators and curators. To build an environment which is and isn't  their work and, to incorporate into that, the work of the Clean Collective..which then becomes the work of Harrison & Hughes. Or is it the other way round, and the whole thing is simply the Clean Collective buying in paid help to buff up their chances? Whether collaboration or compromise, for the collective good or personal profit, perhaps it simply is. And may be that's enough.

Industry and Idleness Industry and Idleness