Book open, standing with concertina partially extended. Recto of each page shows the abstracted movement pattern of seven workers. Verso of each page is the text ‘Lecture on Moving’ by Yvonne Rainer, avant garde dancer.
Book, cover. Pages sewn onto the fold of a concertina which allows for the book to open like a traditional codex or be performed by the viewer/reader in many different ways.
Final page spread showing culmination of all workers’ movements overlapping, printed in shades of silver ink. Definition of action verb from text, “pass…To let go without notice, action, remark, etc. leave unconsidered, disregard, overlook.” Overprinted action verb “PUSH” in yellow.
Concertina fully extended showing a portion of the recto of all pages. Each worker is represented by a black dot in the first image, and each successive page depicts a movement pattern forming from the intersection of the workers’ paths, shown by lines that changes in length, width and color.
Concertina fully extended showing a portion of the verso of all pages with text and action verbs in large wood type. The text visually tracks down the page to echo the movement represented in the book.
Labor/Movement (seven workers)
Hand-set metal and wood type, photopolymer plate printing, folios sewn onto concertina structure
edition size of 25
12 x 70 x .5″ open
12 x 14 x 1″ closed
Labor/Movement (seven workers) depicts movement visually in book form, while calling attention to the complexity of everyday human activity, specifically physical labor. The book tracks the motions of seven workers over a brief period of time with lines that change in length, width and color. These movements were captured using a bird’s-eye-view stock video of construction workers on a building site. As the segments of motion grow on the recto of each page, lines intersect and interact, joining to form an intricate pattern on top of a static industrial floor. Shades of silver ink overlap to create a rich, opulent field that belies the seemingly humble activity. Each folio is sewn onto the mountain fold of a concertina. When the concertina is fully extended by the reader, a portion of each page can be seen simultaneously with each other page, exposing the frame by frame growth of the movement pattern. The reader/viewer is implicated in the performance of the book and asked to be aware of her movements as she interacts with the piece.
These abstract reductions of the movements of workers are inspired by the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who developed time and motion studies in the early 20th century to improve worker efficiency and productivity. Their work broke down any job into a series of discreet movements that could be repeated by anyone, obviating the need for specialized and skilled laborers. While these studies improved working conditions for some, they also began an insidious process of dehumanizing labor. The Gilbreths made films of workers, often placed in front of gridded walls to study their movements. In this book, the motions of workers are also seen against a gridded backdrop, but here it is a skewed and jumbled
depiction of rebar on a building site.
The imagery is paired with ‘Lecture on Moving,’ a text by Yvonne Rainer, reprinted with permission of the author, originally published in Aspen magazine, 1971. Yvonne Rainer is an avant garde dancer and filmmaker whose dance work often highlights everyday movements. In the text, YR leads a group through an exercise designed to make the participants more aware of their physical presence in the world and call attention to the basic dignity of the
human body. She lists the dictionary definitions of a variety of action words, that, when placed in the context of the performance and this artist book become evocative of morethan their simple definitions.
Printed by the artist on a Vandercook SP-20 and bound by the artist in Hanover, NH and Orange, MA in the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012. Hand-set metal and wood type, body text in Palatino. Images printed from photopolymer plates. 20 pages. Edition of 25. Housed in a clamshell box.