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MWRA

interactive sculptures with sound

Salford

2011

The project was developed during a residency at the Islington Mill in Salford and exhibited as part of the Merzman Closing Cabaret.

MWRA is the acronym for the absurdly bureaucratic term ‘Mandatory Work Related Activities’ invented by the government to describe the manual labour unemployed people will be forced to do as part of the Work for Your Benefits scheme. People on the scheme will effectively be paid less than 2 pence per minute for their work, one sixth of the National Minimum wage.

 

The project materialises two typical ‘Mandatory Work Related Activities’ - gardening and picking up litter - into interactive sculptures. The objects are shaped to direct the audience to automatically perform the work movements accompanied by a one minute soundtrack.

 

The objects were exhibited in front of the local Jobcentre in Eccles for one day. The work was accompanied by members of the Salford Unemployed Workers Union and the general public was invited to perform the ‘Mandatory Work Related Activities’.