Revisiting WORKSITE: Priya Peña

Priya Peña

  • Priya defines “work” as “moving and tending and creating and performing and functioning”, with “a work” being “a result of such actions”. Here the term “work” is almost synonymous with “activity”, and by extension a counter to rest/inactivity.
  •  The notion of “a work” being “a result” of such activity implies an extension of the definition of art/the art object to encompass any change or modification to one’s environment. Art work then becomes an exercise in framing and/or presenting those activities that the artist perceives to be (or wishes to highlight as) “work”, distinguishing it from “non-work”.
  • In this way the “a work” (as in the result or object arising from the work itself) can be seen as an index to “the work” – a means of presenting or documenting the activity of its own creating, rather than an end in itself. Taken to an extreme, any art object can be reframed as a documentation of a performance; evidence of a process or activity, of “moving and tending and creating and performing and functioning”.
  • Priya defines “site” simply as “a space in which work occurs”; a place where “objects reside” and within which “performance and function occur”. Just as the term “work” can be used to encompass almost any activity, here “site” can include any location related to that work.
  • Priya describes her own work as “a reflection on what occurs in private sites”. In terms of the analysis above, Priya’s work constitutes a documentation of private activities, reframing those activities as work by means of their presentation.
  • Priya’s list of necessary tools and resources supports the interpretation of work as “activity” and “[art] works” as “documents” – instead of paints or drawing utensils she lists bathroom paraphernalia such as soap, tweezers and towels, all of which appear (or are implied) in her images.
  • The status of Priya’s images as documentation is further reinforced when we consider that the artist considers her work to be “private” – something that “no one can ever witness”. The images then are an index to an otherwise unseen or inaccessible activity.
  • Interestingly – and counter to the dichotomy theorized above – Priya characterizes her work as a form of “rest”, rather than its opposite.

One thought on “Revisiting WORKSITE: Priya Peña”

  1. Again, it seems here that you could benefit from creating a diagram and using it to sketch out a constellation of different possibilities. So long as you keep tying things back to the core concept of ‘enabling constraints’ the different attitudes that emerge from you cases studies will have a common point of comparison.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *