GeoVanna González & Jonathan González
THE UNRESOLVED COLLECTION
A collaboration between GeoVanna Gonzalez & Jonathan Gonzalez
Despite economic instability, growing income gaps across countries and the rise of a migratory, flexible and underpaid labor force, our commitment to productivity is unflagging. Today, work enlists us to psychologically invest ourselves in a boundaryless work life, which seeks to instrumentalize all of our waking hours.
- Living Labor, Hoegsberg & Fisher
Throughout 2020, many of us have been forced to restructure our domestic spaces into work/living realms. And we have had to adapt not just our physical space, but our mental space too. Our sleep cycles, our time management, our leisure periods – all have been confined, all have been reprogrammed. The boundaries between work and leisure, between labor and rest, between public and private, are more compromised than ever.
Gonzalez & Gonzalez’s UNRESOLVED collection explores how design and art are complicit in that reprogramming, and how they can act as tools of resistance. The ur-object of each piece in the collection is a tool of creative labor. The iconography is derived from forms that are understandable to everyone (ladder; flood light; pencil; eraser). The new readings offered by Gonzalez & Gonzalez, their reprogramming of these recognizable objects, merges the iconic formal qualities of the “original” objects with concepts relating to the precarity of creative labor.
The collection makes visible the ways in which tools and programs (from pencils to screens, chairs to software) are used to firmly resolve and repose us, to sit us down, to tie us to capitalist function.
As GeoVanna Gonzalez says, “We want UNRESOLVED to question work, labor, equity, and inclusion. By operationally reprogramming everyday objects, we reshape both their use and meaning; by extension we want to challenge the very concept of creative labor.”
The new readings of these designs challenge the function of labor-based objects, and labor itself. Where the original stepladder was intended to climb, to be used to reach and retrieve, to extend the human body’s capacity to organize and store goods, the new ladder has been liberated of such burden. The UNRESOLVED ladder is now a place for rest, communing, display, and dialogue. The ladder has been unresolved.
As well as its usual noun function, unresolved in this show operates as a verb. The pieces work to unresolve intention, to entangle meaning, to complicate and question expectation.
Inspired by objects with a highly refined purpose, Gonzalez & Gonzalez reference cast concrete fence posts in South America (Brazil, specifically]); steel and wood trusses; street and highway lamps. These are forms, textures, and intentions that bear the responsibility of labor, the reminder of its pervasiveness. Everything has to be made by someone.
As Jonathan Gonzalez says, “We don’t like to impose; we think instead of freeing a form from its former self. The objects are available to be read for these new purposes, or merely because you like the way they look. They can be resolved or unresolved by the viewer however you want. This liberation of forms is integral to the work; it recovers some of our humanity, our autonomy; helping us to find again a slow space; to rediscover – to unresolve – what it means to be in control of our life.”
For any given project, the artist may act as producer, quarry, thread, director, writer, orchestrator, ethnographer, choreographer, poet, archivist, forger, curator, and many other things first. Rather than self-identify solely as painters or sculptors, artists are now free to occupy specific roles temporarily, in what could be described as a kind of “occupational drag,” which is taken from Elizabeth Freeman’s term “temporal drag.”
The Artist As,. Burns, Lundh, McDowell, et al.
- Text by: Martin Jackson