Humanity at Work – By Romana Schmalisch and Robert Schlicht

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

  • 16.11.2018. - 14.12.2018
  • Gerade geschlossen

How do we learn to work? What skills do we have to acquire in order to measure up to the demands of the labor market? In other words, how does human capital come about? With their solo exhibition Humanity at Work, Romana Schmalisch and Robert Schlicht draw a portrait of a society that measures wealth in terms of the labor expended.

Humanity at Work centers on a fictional “labor power plant” in which people are strategically shaped, instructed, and transformed into potential workers. The exhibition offers insights into this production facility for human capital in various presentational forms. Film observations document courses teaching “soft skills” such as creativity strategies, self-presentation and self-management. Diagrams explain production processes and the evaluation of the work force. A fictional historical outline describes the success story of the institution from industrialization to today, its reaction to the labor movement, and new trends in corporate governance. Finally, the short film Top/Down portrays a role-playing game with three managers: As they discuss new management strategies intended to increase productivity by more targeted access to people’s desires and subjectivity, the initially well-defined power relations begin to topple.

Top/Down was produced by FRAC Grand Large–Hauts-de-France in collaboration with Spectre Productions and support from Pictanovo.