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Clock in

Clock In (MFA Installation).

I struggled in my MFA program to find a direction in my work. I was doing a lot of academic figure drawing, so that’s what I was painting, generic figures in blank spaces. One particular mentor asked the simplest of questions that had for some reason eluded me. They asked while looking at a painting of a figure in a color field, “Who is this and where are they?” I didn’t know, to which they asked, “Well where have you been?“ I frustratedly said, “I’ve been in a damned cubicle.” They calmly nodded, and promptly left.

I was henceforth the cubicle guy in my grad school class.

This led me down a rabbit whole of cubicles, ones I’ve been in and the general history of work spaced, those that inhabit them, and the very nature of being a worker in a space designed for efficiency. I read Cold War Hothouses: Inventing Postwar Culture from Cockpit to Playboy by Beatriz Colomina where I found that cockpits were designed to efficiently allow pilots to work (shoot and fly), and this design philosophy was carried over into the post-war economy.

So I made a cubicle. I collected office-related objects from throughout history, from a 1940’s era desk to modern Cubicle partitions. One of the theories around the creation of semi-isolated spaces for work comes from Monasteries and the rooms where monks would meditate in isolation. And as I was making a “work of art” I elevated my cubicle on a pedestal and added lighting like some sacred apse to memorialize someone’s last job before being laid off, their last act writing a thesis paper about cubicles.