Zavod Sploh
Loup Abramovici, Tomaž Grom, Teja Reba, Špela Trošt: Free TimeUpcomingArchivePhotography

Loup Abramovici, Tomaž Grom, Teja Reba, Špela Trošt: Free Time

Residency, research, interventions
Work of the opus Let’s Work! (2022–2023) by Loup Abramovici, Tomaž Grom, Teja Reba, Špela Trošt

Concept and performers: Loup Abramovici, Tomaž Grom, Teja Reba, Špela Trošt
In collaboration with: Nhandan Chirco, Davide Farabegoli, Amadeo D'alessandro, Rastko Pietro Chirco Popović

Production: Teja Reba
Coproduction: Sploh Institute
Partner: Associazione Culturale YANVII
Financial support: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

10.–17. 8. 2022, Estati Indiane, Cesena, Italy

Useful vs useless work

Concept and interviews: Teja Reba and Špela Trošt
Editing: Tomaž Grom
Translation: Špela Trošt

24. 4. 2023, Old Power Station – Elektro Ljubljana
25. 4. 2023, Old Power Station – Elektro Ljubljana
9. 9. 2023, festival Venere in teatro, Forte Maghera, Mestre-Venezia, Italy
2. 12. 2023, Celjski dom, Celje
2.–3. 2. 2024, Hangar teatri, Triest, Italy
18. 5. 2024, Inkubator, Maribor

Modern forms of leisure activities only took shape in the second half of the twentieth century. The most common leisure activities are tourism, sport, culture, and entertainment. If many people see cultural activities as leisure, then artists are working for the quality leisure time of others. Work and leisure are thus fundamentally intertwined in artistic activity. Perhaps this is partly the source of the ontological understanding of art as leisure. But does it not mean that the artist at large is a prisoner to other people’s leisure? And how does this manifest itself in the growing precarious economy of the twenty-first century?

As Rosalind Gill and Andy Pratt note in their analysis, artists and creatives are the new model of entrepreneurs – the ideal workers of the future. Their lives are precarious, discontinuous, and defined by long hours. They have a bulimic attitude to work, a result of the blurring of the boundaries between work and play. They are poorly paid, hypermobile, with a passionate attachment to their work and their identity as creators. This attitude reflects a mixture of bohemian and entrepreneurial lifestyles in which informal work environments and specific forms of sociability give rise to a deep sense of insecurity and fear. It is conditioned by the need to earn a living and at the same time the imperative to innovate, because keeping up with the times means reacting and adapting quickly to all the changes taking place in a given sector.

Artists' residencies – when creatives travel to different parts of the world –  have become a common phenomenon today. They are financed by various European funding mechanisms and institutions that view mobility as key to promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and developing new partnerships, and also as a way for artists to develop their careers and find new audiences in the European territory.

Now we combine the concept of the residency with the relationship between leisure and artistic production described above. Is this what we are interested in during the residency? If leisure is freedom from work, how does artistic work operate within leisure time – in a time free from work? Can these questions trigger reflection on something beyond work? Because when performance art shifts away from traditional forms and opens up a space for the flow of energy, desire, and pleasure, everyday media and production realities are transformed and presence is redefined.

We have therefore timed the public performance of the project to coincide with the Italian National Day. Ferragosto, celebrated by Italians on 15 August, dates back to Roman times. Its name derives from the Latin expression Feriae Augusti, August's rest. The month of August is named after the first Roman Emperor, Octavian Augustus. The emperor introduced the feast and named it after himself. At the time, he decreed that it would be a day of rest for all free Romans and their slaves as it followed a period of hard work and harvesting of grain. The Church then adopted this day as the Feast of the Assumption, one of the greatest feasts of the Virgin Mary and a very important church holiday, characterized by numerous processions through villages and towns. It was only from 1920 onwards that Italians also began to travel and holiday on this day. Under the new regime, the government promoted leisure activities even for the lower classes who could enjoy a short break on the coast or in the mountains. Thus, this holiday became a time when everyone could take part in leisure.

Let’s Work! (20222023) deals with the problem of work. It invites us, through various artistic situations set in specific environments, to reflect on the meaning and value of work, the ways in which we experience work in everyday life, and how art is at work. In the first chapter (2022), artworks are contextualized in locations that play a constructive role in society in terms of the formulation of labor policies, and more specifically the formulation of strategies in the field of cultural labor, in public services that respond to labor problems, in institutions that educate the upcoming workforce, and in spaces that play a role in contemporary art practices. The spatial and temporal positioning of works for (re)viewing by both institutional staff and invited and casual visitors aims to widen the field of visibility of the artwork and its reception. In the second chapter (2023), the artworks will be presented in their entirety in exhibition and performance formats.

Follow us
and stay informed