Jargon repurposed: The Retail Manager

alt=I often work with textile media to enquire into the audience´s relationship with satisfaction through Fredric Jameson’s notion of schizophrenia in our frenetic consumer society.

Interviewing PP (not in the shot), starring XX

 

Sales Manager XX filmed speaking.

 

PP: What do you do for a living?

XX: Smiling. I’m a Retail Manager for a multinational franchise.

 

PP: What does that entail?

XX:  I often work with textile media and elements of performance to enquire into the audience´s relationship with satisfaction through Fredric Jameson’s notion of schizophrenia in our frenetic consumer society.

Stock moving images of retail scenery imitating a studio visit.

PP: I understand that the accelerated pace of production is essential to your creative practice – how do you keep it up?

XX: I am lucky to have a dedicated team of creative assistants who (news reel shot of exploited workers sewing ‘made in X’ labels), challenging historical philosopher Walter Benjamin’s ideas regarding mechanical reproduction, support my thinking and designing process. This allows me to fully focus on the other end of the production line and establish a sensorial – phenomenological – audience interaction (shot of customer touching clothing) with the exhibition space as well as to facilitate visitors’ material transaction (customer paying and leaving shop with bags) by encouraging them to take my work away beyond the exhibition space.

 

PP: What inspires you?

XX: Shot of XX. My material processes working with textile media are, in fact, deeply connected with overarching performative interventions which often lead the direction of each piece. Ironically, I began performing at the start of my career but have only recently become aware of the extent to which this serves me, almost, as a defence mechanism through which I navigate difficult situations and heal from past experiences. 

 

PP: What’s your most notorious piece of work?

XX: Re-fold, De-fold (1999) was my first participatory, durational and performative engagement with textiles; (archive images of the work performed, chronological images of different retail settings since 1999) one that has also significantly changed through the years as I have adapted it to new scenarios. Members of the public were invited into the space with the premise of unfolding pre-folded textile items of their choice only to, seconds later, leave them in a terrible condition and different location. My assistants were spread across the venue with the opposite task: to neatly fold and relocate these items. Within only a few seconds the process would repeat itself and build up in pace, creating a hectic rhythm, and would culminate as soon as one of my assistants finally broke down and screamed in the changing room. (Shot of XX) I passively observed whilst interrogating this wonderful tension caused by power relationships at the heart of consumer culture. Still today, this is one of my most urgent lines of enquiry.