This project is called WORKBITCH and is based on an initial project called Daily Data. For this project I tracked and monitored my daily actions and activities over a set period of time. The aim of the project was an ironic way of legitimising my daily actions and to ‘prove’ to myself how productive I was really being. It was a laborious and deliberately boring task which justified my actions, or lack thereof, as an artist. I looked specifically at my routine, my journeys, my activities, what they resulted in and where I went – all of which seem no more interesting from that of the next person.
For this project I would like to take two weeks of my data and transform each day into a GIF – producing a gif a day. The data will cover 2 weeks from 2 October 2013 – 16 October 2013. My anxiety, need, desire to produce was highlighted during this project and subsequently the Britney Spears song Work Bitch was released. This title is hilariously appropriate for both my own experience of the project as well as a general societal desire to achieve, maintain a certain lifestyle and be successful.
Each GIF will be titled according to the corresponding date e.g. WorkBitch02102013.
The following text was originally written in early 2014 as part of Nicola Kritzinger’s residency and as an effort to critically engage with our practices and Floating Reverie. It was the final post in her residency, connecting our initial efforts and process. It has been adapted and reworked for this publication.
The original can be viewed at her residency.
There is no such thing as a homogenous pop culture aesthetic, but you know it when you see it. Whitaker has utilized some long-standing GIF techniques making reference to historical use and early digital media. Glitter GIFs are so widespread that you, dear reader, have definitely received them in one of those really-annoying-cute-chain-emails-that-you-have-to-send- on-or-suffer-dire-consequences. There is something so deeply human about an appreciation of something shiny, hence their lowbrow connotation and overuse in all forums.
In her title #WORKBITCH, Whitaker refers to an ultimate icon of contemporary pop culture, Britney Spears—the shiny, pink, glittery image projected by Spears is employed with some fervour in the artist’s GIFs. Whitaker also refers to popular 1980s Melanie Griffith film Working Girl and its reductive attempt to discuss female empowerment. Visual homage is made to Barbara Kruger and the way in which the aesthetic has been rehashed ad nauseum.
Carly Whitaker is particularly concerned in her work with the stereotypical representation of women and the way in which they appear in popular culture. She discusses how the repetition of these stereotypes affect real women and their daily existence. The artist often works in mediums that are traditionally associated with womanly house chores and crafts—sewing, dresses, knitting, and all things pink and pretty. It is simultaneously a criticism and an attempt to reclaim the language of oppression appropriated by popular culture.
Reading one of these GIFs as an individual work renders it superficial, whimsical and ‘pretty’, but as a body of work, these flashing images examine a more serious discussion about daily routine, productivity and the effects of the digital and popular culture on our quotidian. These works, as a series, form a dialogue that describes the artistic process and more specifically the realm of the digital artist. The larger the number of GIFs seen together, the greater the understanding one can render from their messages and their visual language.
To view the Post-Digital 2014 II, click here.