The quiz show Busman's holiday aired on Granada Television from 1985-93. Two teams employed in a given industry, were questioned about their understanding of the opposing teams skills, for example hairdressers answering questions about plumbing, and vice-versa. Often producing a subtle form of layering or impersonation to the bodies we associate to each job. The winners would then travel abroad to compare themselves, and knowledge of their professed profession in an unknown workforce or context, producing a small video clip to be screened the following week.
The irony that the quiz show took place during the shriveling of a skills-based and union-based worker sector in the UK creates a document of fascination, particularly when viewed through the continuing prisms of EU, immigration, and failing western economies. The programme essentially rendering a space where there is 'no escape', that every holiday is a Busman's Holiday. Every place or location a burgeoning moment of potential capital.
It is these pressures of performance, the notion of transferable skills in such job sectors, which has trickled out into art, and art education. That the exhibition seeks to negotiate; one in where the role of the artist is increasingly professionalised through a phenomenon of cultural productivity.
Karl Otto Karl, born in Germany, lives and works in London.
Terence McCormack, born in England, lives and works in London.
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