In 2017 mixed media artist Pauline Nijenhuis (Zutphen, The Netherlands) carried out the project ‘Fast Work, Time consuming Landscape’. In 2018 a booklet about this project was published. If you haven’t been able to see the project, this book is a perfect way to get a good impression of it.
The booklet has a clear classifications of chapters, each of it accompanied by photographs. In each chapter the topics “criteria, working process, designing process, production process and multi-media” are clarified.
1 project, 4 works of art
After the introduction by Pauline, the first chapter tells what the project is all about. Shortly Pauline states the following.
“Nowadays an ICT revolution is still going on. That has a great effect on our lives, jobs, prosperity and ourselves as human beings. Life is getting faster and faster. Intelligent machines and robots take on tasks, which previously could only be done by humans. They do that with increasing speed, knowledge and power. What will be the consequence of this big acceleration?”
To find an answer to this question, the project is born. Pauline challenges herself making 4 arts works, each with an increasing shorter time limit in production. The art works are “painted textiles”, paintings with embroidery on it. She tried to make four similar textile paintings, every following painting had 15% less time available than at the previous one (so it’s 100%, 85%, 70% and 55% of time). Each painting had to be as optimal as possible and be salable.
Logbooks and photo’s
In the second chapter logbooks and photo’s of the 4 art works are shown. The logbooks give insight into the 5 leading research questions Pauline was working with:
- Does the amount of production time influence the working process?
- Does my way of working change due to increasing working pressure?
- What are the consequences of the acceleration on a visual level?
- What are the consequences of this acceleration on me as a visual artist?
- How do I perceive time at the four different time limits?
Installation of the work
The third chapter gives some background information about the installation of the work, exposed during the exhibition Space, Time and Architecture, in 2017 in Amsterdam. For example information about the way it was constructed and the choices made for the setting up of the installation.
In the fourth chapter the results of the produced art works (in this project) are shown.
The artist gives her judgement of the four art works made by her. A leading question is: which work do I like the most? She also gives an insight to the answer of people who have seen her works, both in real world and on Facebook and Instagram. You could conclude that tastes differ, depending on the background of visitors. For example artists and non-artists have different preferences.
In the fifth chapter Pauline draws conclusions regarding the project as a whole. For one, she concludes it’s easier to deal with small time-cut’s than big ones. After downsizing time by 30%, she got physically and mentally complaints due to stress. After a downsizing of 45% of the time, she worked sloppy, got recalcitrant and couldn’t make choices easily anymore.
To me, as a former career coach, this conclusions are very interesting. Lots of employers implement reduction of employees and increase profit targets at the same time. When you transfer Pauline’s conclusion to the average working place…. I think you could say that time pressure above a certain amount, has a negative impact on the employees and their health.
How great it would it be if this theme would be academically researched by psychology faculties of universities. To find out if stress is indeed above all an individual personal problem. Because that seems to be the current opinion about this topic in lots of organizations.
The sixth chapter of the booklet is a summary. Most important conclusion of Pauline is that her experience of time can change drastically, due to the pressure that’s existing in that moment in time. She also concludes that when she has to work in stress for a longer period of time, it’s a heavy burden and she can’t keep up with that.
Where to get it?
All in all I think this booklet is very interesting to read, especially for people who embroider or make art themselves. You can get the booklet via http://www.paulinenijenhuis.nl, firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s written in Dutch.