Exhibition / 28 Feb – 4 Apr 2020

Work to Be Done

Work to Be Done
© Mikko Suutarinen

Preview: Thursday 27 February, 18.00. Book Now (Free)

A society expects us all to work and pay taxes. It is crucial for a society’s functioning that everybody contributes. Working is respected – though respect for professions and positions form various hierarchies. Many societies encourage us to have children – and to create the next contributing generation to secure a nation’s future development, taxes and services.

Happy Families, a traditional British card game since the mid-1800’s, portrays families with four happy members. Mother and father, Mrs and Mr Occupation, sharing the same profession and the two children, a girl and a boy, following in their footsteps. Over 150 years ago, was this a revolutionary idea of a working family, a prophetic declaration of a happy, functional family, or simply a harmless absurdity no one paid much attention to? Woman and man, both independent workers, working as engineers, photographers, bakers, working for their family and for their livelihood in laboratories and on fishing ships. If Happy Families is the perfectly balanced unit, we can see the ideal society in a nutshell, or more precise, in a pack of cards. Everyone is doing what they enjoy and can do their best.

Gender coded territories are no illusion. The gulf between the territories, at both work and home, is knit together with myriad patterns. It is a privilege to be able to choose one’s profession and workplace. To be able to choose to take parental leave and stay home with the children. To earn enough to live on. These privileges go beyond questions of gender equality – these are the choices that some people make, whichever gender.

As structural changes shake the foundations of European work environments, traditional hard work will disappear and the demand for soft workers will increase. There is no longer any need for the gender divide in an agricultural society if there ever was one. Hierarchies also crumble. Companies recognise the intrinsic value of being a well-respected workplace, realisable through communication and trust between management and employees. Confidence does not ask for gender. In a productive workplace, everyone can be themselves and influence the meaning of work. Like in our homes, a Happy Family gets everyday tasks collectively done.

Beta Bajgart, Johan Bävman, Katrina Neiburga, Mikko Suutarinen, and Nella Nuora are the artists will be exhibiting their works and curated by Whack 'n' Bite.