Art for the New Economy, Where Everyone's Got a 'Side Gig'

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Anxious to Make, 'Open Ambiguity,' single channel video, 2016. (Courtesy of the artists)

As Bay Area residents, we dwell in the epicenter of the so-called sharing economy. By outsourcing the more meddlesome aspects of our daily lives, these companies claim, we can reach high levels of productivity, enjoy more personal growth, suffer less stress about making ends meet. But at what cost?

With the ability to do less, we actually pressure ourselves to make more, says the artist collaborative Anxious to Make (Oakland-based Liat Berdugo and Los Angeles-based Emily Martinez), who focus on the contemporary drive to make “more money, more clicks, more friends, more love, more tweets, more shows, more papers, more projects, more ideas, more originality, more experiences.”

Anxious to Make, 'WWWORK,' single channel video, 2016.
Anxious to Make, 'WWWORK,' single channel video, 2016. (Courtesy of the artists)

Utilizing the resources of the sharing economy to highlight its underlying structures, Anxious to Make renders this often-invisible layer of the economy tangible in their exhibition Side Gig, opening Saturday, Nov. 19, 7-11pm at Oakland’s B4BEL4B gallery.

Works include video pieces made using for-hire actors from, a hypnosis audio track made by a “cloud-working hypnotist” and a “nap room” for sharing economy workers, complete with comfy pillows and cushions. Most intriguingly, a portion of the show (on view through Dec. 15) will only be visible to gig-workers hired as proxies for the “true” viewers. That means, to see the entirety of Side Gig, you’ll have to hire someone to look at it for you -- or get hired out by someone else. Because if you can outsource your laundry, why not outsource your aesthetic experiences? Welcome to the new world order, folks.