Corin Sworn – Work House
Koppe Astner until May 7th
At first glance, the centre-piece of the white room that houses Corin Sworn’s new environmental intervention looks like a large circular mirror in the middle of the wall. It resembles the sort of retro conceit usually found in commercial faux-hipster lounges. Step inside, luv, and it’s actually a rough-hewn hole, the remnants of a cartoon bank heist or what’s left of a bull’s visit to a very white china shop. On a screen opposite, There is ‘Movement’ (2018), a video of the room playing on loop. Keeping a CCTV-style distance as the round hole is cut out to create a window on the room next door, the video reveals an open-plan potential wonderland in which kids climb through the hole, while three dancers roll and tumble.
Once over the threshold, it takes a moment to spot the security camera, the oh-so-discreet, blend-into-the-background all-seeing-eye, here called a cheery ‘Hello!’ (2018). It’s a word that’s become more than mere greeting, now loaded by association with the smile-for-the-camera airbrushed gloss of celebrity weddings forged in reality TV.
Soap dispensers mounted on the walls serve up exotically-scented hand gels. Towel racks contain pages ripped from subverted Ladybird books, themselves the sort of post-modern gags that seemingly put two fingers up to the original nostalgic idylls while actually confirming them. Over a percussive soundtrack that accompanies the video, a soothing American female voice offers self-help platitudes to get you through.
Social control comes in small ways, it seems, in a place where work, rest and play are watched over with benign countenance, as random acts by visitors are captured on film for future reference. Through such flawed edifices of surveillance culture, the contradictions of the home-office-interface are laid bare in all their squeaky-clean apparel. Now wash your hands.
MAP, May 2018