Manual Labours

Wednesday 10th April | 7pm
Screening and Discussion  with Marina Vishmidt
Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Marina Vishmidt will discuss Pilvi Takala's performance and film The Trainee (2008) in light of her research into how art models anomalous labour conditions in the period of financialized capitalism.  She will explore how strategies such as performativity, intimacy and refusal traverse contemporary forms of labour and art. 

Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer who deals mainly with art, value and the politics of work and abstraction. A former Research Fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academie, she has an MA in Modern European Philosophy and is currently doing a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London on speculation as a mode of production in art and capital.

Pilvi Takala's The Trainee was produced in a collaboration with Deloitte and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, and invovled the artist working for a month as trainee "Johanna Takala" in the marketing department of Deloitte.  Takala studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and was resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. 

This event is part of Manual Labours - a long term research project exploring people’s physical relationships to work, initiated by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope. Manual Labours reconsiders current time-based structures of work (when does work start and end?) and reasserts the significance of the physical (manual) aspect of immaterial, affective and emotional labour.  Through this project we are interested in exploring the transformation of labour processes through an investigation into the ‘physical’ relationships to work in order to map complex and overlapping experiences of work/life entwinement. During this first public manifestation of Manual Labours we will be building an archive of films and publications, alongside public screenings and discussions with co-workers to inform ways in which we can recapture a sense of agency within our current positions.   Developing research in a public setting during a week at Birkbeck's Peltz Room set up as our open office, each day of the working week focuses on one worker stereotype in order to research how these different ‘posts’ are de-stabled through everyday practices.  
To follow the daily programme and for more information visit |

 8-12 April, 10-6pm | Open office
 Peltz Room, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD  
To find out more, get involved or contribute, please contact

Manual Labours is supported by the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice, Birkbeck (, Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards.