Installed in the prominently positioned window boxes of the Downing Centre Local & District Court, An Unintended Consequence (of Labour) throughout September 2018, presented new works by six artists exploring their diverse relationships to labour in light of recent changes to NSW laws surrounding consent and protest. Organised by artists Rafaela Pandolfini and Ainslie Templeton, the exhibition questioned who plays an active role in the governmental decisions that affect broader Australian society by contrast to those who the decisions most directly affect. An Unintended Consequence (of Labour) interrogates different types of labour â particularly those more complex and less understood incarnations such as domestic and bodily labour.
In light of 2018 laws introduced to limit protest action in NSW, extending the powers of police and limiting the protections peaceful protesters have under the law, the highly prominent position and function of the Downing Centre building presents as a potent symbol of power. Formally the Mark Foys Emporium which was known to flourish by underpaying its workers, the heritage-listed Downing Centre building was a focus of inner-city retail for over half a century before becoming home to several courtrooms as well as facilities for witnesses, juries and people in custody. The mosaicked signs along the Elizabeth Street facade advertise the products once for sale while the interior represents the bureaucratic law and order-Activities that maintain, promote and implement criminal and civil law and legal processes.
Organised by artists Rafaela Pandolfini and Ainslie Templeton
"These works explore the language of the press and official legal documents covering recent amendments to section s61HA of the NSW Crimes Act 1900 that have re-considered the specifics around consent. The title of these works, Myths & Facts is some such language pulled from a fact sheet issued by the Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (formerly NSW Rape Crisis Centre) which is often offered as a educational resource in discussions surrounding the amendments. Language, particularly in the case of Legal English and its subsequent life in the press, comes then to represent a disconnect between lived experience and the law and order activities that govern them."
I think both myself and Lukiah Bodley work with a consciousness of the potential for heavy exposure, for parts of ourselves which cannot be seen without (social) technology. I am interested in fine distinctions made between people and how that connects with labour. The public separation and ranking of bodies as discrete entities/enterprises can be witnessed as a forced structure, considering the explicit, physical ways in which bodies of labour coalesce in private.
"Both Ainslie and I do our work from our mobile phones. So all of the writing, editing, co-creating and conferencing was confined to, or perhaps amplified by, the user interface, comms channels and applications of our mobile devices. As such, the work-process (labour) had a strange in betweenness to it, a funny kind of distanced interactivity. Personally, I am interested in how we move above, through and within the cyber-physical systems of modern capitalism. We find ourselves constantly divided and indexed by the 'digital' - our work, our labour interface and interweave with code/data. We are told to build 'portfolio' careers and 'portfolio' bodies and 'portfolio' selves."
"As a disabled trans person, I often wish that I could be both more and less visible. By this I mean that I wish that a non-normative body was not just tolerable but accepted and that I had more control over the conditions of my visibility. I also wish that I was able to lift up my family and enable my community to be seen and supported, instead of continuing to live through generational poverty and poor socio-economic conditions... I feel like my work is presented in this spirit - to uplift an underrepresented community of people"
"Visibility is key to changing opinions, legislation and stereotypes by empowering minorities who are not 'seen' as valuable. Also, art should be in the public eye. Art is for everyone not the few that wander into the white box."
Materials: Vinyl Banner
Accompanying Text:You see there's leaders and there's masters. I'd rather be a snake than a ladder