E.S.P. TV, 'WORK': Episode 1
Pioneer Works is pleased to present WORK, E.S.P. TV’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States. Directed by Victoria Keddie and Scott Kiernan, E.S.P. TV is best known for their live television tapings that feature experimental broadcast collaborations with underground poets, musicians, and artists via their mobile television studio. For WORK, E.S.P. TV makes Pioneer Works’ office staff and environment the subject of a six-week performative, televisual installation by relocating the organization’s second-floor, open-plan office to the first-floor’s main exhibition space. Surrounded by a de-centralized control room, the office doubles as both a dynamic sculptural set — painted partly in chroma blue and featuring movable walls, among other features — and the actual site for the staff’s five-day workweek. The staff’s “daily grind” will be mixed live, on-site, with custom video effects and commercial interruptions. Far from peddling in the sensational tropes of reality TV, WORK instead turns banal, day-to-day office routines and patterns — the movement of a chair, a co-worker getting coffee — into the improbable, playful content of a serial program to be broadcast weekly on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. E.S.P. TV worked closely with curator David Everitt Howe to envision this social experiment and exhibition, which responds to the building’s unique environment and tight-knit, collective office culture.
Prioritizing emerging, overlooked, or historically underrepresented artists, Pioneer Works exhibitions are often massive undertakings to achieve. This series offers a first-hand look at the finished product, chronicling the blood, sweat, and tears involved in realizing these large-scale efforts, as well as their conceptual underpinnings.