When an employee at Google’s Mexico City office takes a post-lunch plunge into the on-site ball pit, is she working or playing? And when an employee in one of Foxconn’s factory sites in China leaps from his eighth-floor dormitory, only to be cradled in recently installed “suicide” netting, is he fulfilling or transgressing the design of the workspace? What is the “work” that is supposed to happen in the workspace and how have transformations of the tools, economies, demographics, and technologies within the workspace shaped the notion of work?
thresholds 44: Workspace mines how the meanings of and locations for work have been historically and culturally defined, how work transposes earlier notions of labor and craft production, and how the work of artists, writers, architects, designers, and urban planners – alongside managers, psychologists, political leaders, and employees themselves – have been integral in construing the physical and mental conditions of work, rest, and play.
Spanning the fields of art and architectural history and practice, urban planning, science, technology, economic history, sociology, medical history, and creative writing, the contributions to thresholds 44: Workspace attend in turn to the individuals, institutions, or objects that activate workspaces in surprising or previously unwritten ways. The contributions depend on acts of spatial revelation or suppression, bringing to light connections between work, worker, and workspace otherwise seen as separate, quiescent, or clandestine.
In addition to the release of the journal, an exhibition in Keller Gallery at MIT, entitled "The Contingent Space of Work," presents creative responses from the issue that react to changing understandings of workspace within the contemporary rise of digital working platforms and immaterial products. From a new super-tool designed to both encourage sexual intimacy and promote household energy efficiency to a set of films which consider boredom as the most fundamental act of productivity, the exhibited projects stimulate connections between the spaces in which we work and the tools we use as it asks us to understand the social politics behind how and why certain activities come to be construed as work.
Aaron Cayer and Dana Cuff, Samira Daneshvar, Veronica Fitzpatrick, Tamao Hashimoto, Lauren Jacobi, Grace Kim, Ying-Ju Lai, Albert José-Antonio López, Partner & Partners, Shelly Ronen, Sebastian Schmidt, Greg Sholette and Matt Greco, Merve Ünsal, Niko Vicario, Winnie Wong and Margaret Crawford
Size: 6.5 x 9.5"
Book Design and Cover: Partner & Partners
Printing: Puritan Capital, Hollis NH