The Showroom

Manual Labours: The Complaining Body


Manual Labours: The Complaining Body is the second stage of a practice based research project Manual Labours exploring people’s physical relationships to work. Initiated by Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards in partnership with The Showroom; In Certain Places, Preston; and Movement, Worcester, this programme offers a moment for new contributors to engage and discuss the research, drawing on what complaints we share and can collectivise around.

Manual Labours: The Complaining Body has developed from a series of workshops with call centre workers in a London Borough Council, commuters on a train station platform, and University staff dealing with student complaints, and explores the physical and emotional effects of complaining, receiving complaints and not being able to complain in the context of work. In April 2016, The Showroom presents three new artist commissions that have responded to the theme developed by artist Sarah Browne, choreographer Hamish MacPherson and writer Ivor Southwood.

Sarah Browne presents a new film Report to an Academy, exploring the contemporary academic environment as a (neoliberal, Kafkaesque) workplace. Ivor Southwood launches his essay, The Uncomplaining Body, which investigates the culture of a large workplace from the perspective of an outsourced temporary cleaner/porter; and Hamish MacPherson examines the rituals of complaining through Breastbeating, a card game simulating an after-work pub session where the only thing you have to do is complain alongside a workshops and performance and games evening.

Manual Labours: The Complaining Body is developed in partnership with The Showroom, London; In Certain Places, Preston and Movement and Division of Labour, Worcester, and supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, The Elephant Trust, The Birkbeck/Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and Birkbeck University Widening Access.

To keep up to date or contribute to the project please email [email protected]

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    Event Manual Labours: Thunderous grumbling under cover of darkness | Performance workshop

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    Exhibition Manual Labours: The Complaining Body with Sarah Browne, Hamish MacPherson and Ivor Southwood

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    Event Manual Labours: Report to an Academy | Film screening and discussion

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    Audio Manual Labours: The Complaining Body: Sarah Browne in Conversation with Saoirse Wall

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    Text Manual Labours: The Complaining Body, Manuals and Publications

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    Event Manual Labours: The Complaining Body, Reading Group 1

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    Event Manual Labours:The Office(less) Christmas Party