It's been a little while since we've seen much of Jeremy Hutchison, so we can't wait for this weekend – when he presents his first UK exhibition in almost two years.
After long-term residencies in Mexico and New York City, work the meat, pleasure the dessert is a weekend-long durational performance that is the culmination of Hutchison's residency at The White Building at Hackney's [space] studios. The event starts tonight and runs until Sunday, when the artist will conclude the work with a public reading of his latest text “Forever Youth Liberator”, in which an individual attempts a personal odyssey to navigate his or her way through the commercial landscape.
That's one of the key themes of this presentation of work. Meat, for example, is a 3D self-portrait of the artist's own body, which has then been created to workable digital scale. To Hutchison, this is a new outsourcing model for today's expanding economy – one that relies on cultural influence (nowadays often a digital-cultural influence) to create emotional connections between products and consumers. Hutchison spoke to Because about the work, where he said: "Meat is a virtual simulation of my anatomy, produced by a 3D scanner. It allows me to outsource my consumer self into a digitally-mechanised body. The work proposes a model of resistance against a regime that turns every click, swipe and scroll into data that produces (and reproduces) its own economic value. I think we’re entering an era of affective slavery. We produce black gold with each mouse-click: registering the emotions we experience as consumers. When I don’t pay for a product, its probably because I am the product. Meat processes these zombie emotions: the parts of my subjectivity that mechanically respond to the solicitations of a hyper-commercial culture. It’s a rather ludicrous revolt against a culture of unpaid labour.”
Hutchison's work has always – to one extent or another – been about revolt and subversion, and whether that's subverting social norms, highlighting exploitative commercial production processes, or undermining standard marketing techniques, his artistic language has always been carefully constructed to pinpoint the absurdities of commercial capitalist society. "Everything is a performance", says Hutchison. "Every brand performs its own logic, and everyone involved in that brand has their own scripted role to play." So he retraces the lines that have been eroded away and puts them back on the map, so that each of us can see where we've been, and where we're going.
But take it from us, he's not against digital culture and its bio-social effects. He says, "I’m not despondent about the interpolations of digital culture in our lives. Because even if I can’t boycott them for practical reasons, I can develop modes of psychological resistance," which we think sums it all up rather nicely.
Jeremy Hutchison: work the meat, pleasure the dessert opens at [space], Mare Street, tonight and runs until Sunday 31 January.