Redaction of Labor [2014]
Labor for OfficeUS, Storefront for Art and Architecture,
La Biennale di Venezia 2014, Venice, Italy.

Working to install Storefront for Art and Architecture’s “OfficeUS” at the American Pavilion during the Venice Biennale 2014 offered access to the Peggy Guggenheim owned Pavilion where both art and architecture promote nationality bi-annually. This art action, Redaction of Labor, occupied one day by masking off a white wall with an area commensurate to a digital projection, painting the area with 1-pint of specialized $300 metallic paint for projection screens, discussing the resultant splotchy gray square’s strengths and weaknesses after the paint ran out, and several hours painting over the gray square with a cheap white acrylic paint in an effort to revert back to a uniform white wall.

Drawing from previous works about gallery labor and aesthetics, as well as more recent works on information redaction as a means to develop cultural voids, Redaction of Labor provides a unique intersection. The process of painting a specialized mural that displays information is typical in a gallery. This one existed to enhance and frame the reflection of digital information while the resultant gray square appeared as a minimal color-field abstraction when not in use.


In the exhibit the gray projection area acts as a model for the aesthetic viewing experience to be existentially questioned and meaning derived by patrons rather than curators. To prevent this quandary of the unguided experience a constant stream of information must be projected and reflected from the projection area to the viewers: it’s utility must constantly be in evidence. This is problematic and the experience of the gray projection rectangle, it is decided, is not aesthetically or functionally aligned with the exhibit.

To prevent the heavy visual weight, confusion, or attempts at interpretation the space must be returned to uniform white, burying one set of actions under another. This process of resetting is redacting, nullifying the previous informational possibilities, leaving only a faint optical tremor around the edges of the original shape attesting to the wall’s secret history. This “zero-sum” outcome is a hallmark of contemporary art, art without direct message acting as open metaphor, a “weak gesture.” (Boris Groys)


There are several more topics involved in the piece such as the problematic distancing in a hierarchy of labor, the action as fulfilling a purpose outside of intent, and more socially interesting is the action as a microcosm of the entire Biennale’s cycle of production, consumption and necessary reduction of history, information, and nations.

Redaction of Labor, 2014_ Venice Biennale, US Pavilion from ryder richards on Vimeo.