Shift/Work – finnisage

finissage : Sunday 7th of August from 7 p.m at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop during the Edinburgh Art Festival

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop presents Shift/Work, a workshop running between the Saturday 30th of July and Sunday the 7th of August 2011.

The sites in which art is made and the myriad ways in which it is supported are increasingly overlooked, festival culture being fixated with the quantifiable outcomes of homo economicus: the tourist spectacle, the brand, the product. Workshops and studios such as ESW are more often concerned with non-economic work, work that can’t be easily quantified, with the process of learning through action. To make art and money involves a combination of shadow work and shiftwork, the patterns of which largely remain invisible. The expansion of ESW’s workshop facilities and studios should encourage us to reconsider the ways in which publicly funded arts organisations might best facilitate comprehensive approaches to production rather than novel ways of fetishising consumption.

Neil Mulholland has consulted with three artists to devise a rota-based curriculum that draws attention to the workshop as a convivial means of production and distribution. These shift-supervisors will exploit ESW’s resources to assist twelve invited participants in their learning through on-the-job training.

Each intensive two-day workshop will be an isolated shift, the artist and participants having no detailed knowledge of the other workshops to follow in the cycle. A shift pattern of working will ensure that productivity levels are maximised over the period of the project. Only the twelve participants will have a holistic view of the entire process and will be in a unique position to put it to work.

At the end of the two-week shift cycle there will be a public finissage : Sunday 7th of August from 7 p.m.

The legacy of Shift/Work will be a publication, a user’s manual combining the curriculae with related images, illustrations and essays. In the future, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop will invite other workshop-based organisations to use this manual for the implementation of related projects.