Ergonomics of Futility: Review

Ergonomics of Futility

Ian F. Thomas and Shreepad Joglekar
coordinated by Ro2 Art and Ryder Richards
Dallas, TX
(ALERT: the reviewer participated in and coordinated this event, therefore he has special insights and vested interests.)

“Ergonomics of Futility” provided a platform for dissension in trust and a spectacle of absurdity based on the most serious of problems: economic disparity and corporate hierarchy. Thomas and Joglekar developed the one-night-only performance at a temporary venue in South Dallas. The event was reminiscent of Gilliam’s “Brazil” as the bizarre, systematic actions undertaken by the performers produced a cyclic system devoid of tangible benefit… except for the possibility of offsetting inflation one dollar at a time.

In this corporate parody ‘art’ was created in the most inefficient manner possible: by developing a business model with management and employees at work in an office setting. Active at ‘work stations’ four performers engaged in tasks such as endlessly transcribing Melville on a loop of paper, hand sawing through books, and singeing ever-devalued dollars, whereupon a ‘worker’ would apply gold leaf and, finally, pin each revalued bill to the wall as a finished ‘product’. The catch is that the ‘workers’ had to earn the dollar bill, which allowed them to continue their ‘job’ of destroying the bill. Executed with all seriousness, these futile actions rewarded mindless repetition and an abundance of sweat over the typically lauded virtues of intellectual aptitude.

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