Despite Efficiency: Labour

21 Nov 2014 – 12 Dec 2014

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 16:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Free Entry

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Herbert Read Gallery

Canterbury, United Kingdom


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The true goal of the system, the reason it programs itself like a computer, is the optimization of the global relationship between input and output –in other words, performativity. Jean-François Lyotard


Inefficiency can be understood as an effort without reward; as the negative result of a system designed to produce a benefit, to be profitable. In relation to present conditions of labour, the dialectic of efficiency/inefficiency is at the core of new working paradigms. From life-hackers who propose efficient uses of technology to minimize the time spent at work, to the vindication of sleep and its power to resist capital’s constant demand of attention, and from the rise of the artist’s job –self-motivated, flexible, instable– as exemplary, to the reliance of many creative industries on the exploitation of unpaid work (internships), labour is today intimately connected to debates around (in)efficiency. Taking this panorama, the project Despite Efficiency: Labour aspires to create a (working) space where these ideas can be played out in different formats and shapes, independently of their utility.      

Despite Efficiency: Labour consists of two phases. The first one involves the guest architecture and design studio Aberrant Architecture collaborating with students to transform the Herbert Read Gallery into a stage for (in)efficient work. Once built, and over a 3-week period, the transformed gallery will host a number of live performances, videos and other time-based projects presented by a group of international artists interested in situations and models of unprofitable, futile or ineffective work. 

Exhibition design: BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design students, UCA + Aberrant Architecture, London

Video works: Marilou Lemmens and Richard Igby, Terry Perk and Ed Oliver, Kleines Postfordistisches Drama, Greta Alfaro and Inutile d’insister /with Stéphane Trois Carrés.

 Calendar of performances (all events are at the Herbert Read Gallery, unless otherwise specified):

· 21 November, 5-8pm: Opening of exhibition with performance by Marilou Lemmens and Richard Igby

· 26 November: The right left, action by Fermín Jiménez Landa across Kent and Surrey

· 3 December, 10am-5pm: Office of Ecological Labour : Surfacing Deep Correlation by Mirko Nikolic

· 10 December, 6pm: Name Readymade by Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša at Turner Contemporary, Margate

· 11 December, from 5pm until late: Book launch and performance by Salon Flux in collaboration with Jane Frances Dunlop followed by live visuals & music at UCA's Bar.


Emma Braso

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Fermin Jimenez Landa

Janez Jansa, Janez Jansa, and Janez Jansa

Greta Alfaro

Marilou Lemmens & Richard Igby

Stephane Trois Carres

Ed Oliver and Terry Perk

Kleines Postfordistisches Drama

Aberrant Architecture

Mirko Nikolic


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