Opening the Books (2016) consists of an artistic intervention within the distribution center of the online giant Amazon, where big data is used to drive employees to extreme efficiency in their labor. The intervention makes use of one of Amazon’s biggest strengths: the distribution of ideas through books. During the exhibition, the artists’ collective Informal Strategies will create a feedback loop between the V2_ exhibition space and one of Amazon’s UK distribution centers. Using Amazon’s own resources, the artists will gradually build an ever-changing library on workers’ movements that will subvert the neoliberal capitalist mode of managing labor. Each week, a new book will be ordered from Amazon.co.uk. The book will temporarily become part of the exhibition before being returned to Amazon a week later under the company’s return policy. Included in the return package will be a poster featuring a pivotal idea from the book. The poster will represent the potential of all the knowledge amassed in the distribution center and will introduce some of this potential back into the workspace. The books will no longer be mere interchangeable consumer goods to the workers; they will become what they always were: carriers of knowledge and tools for change.
This project was developed during a V2_ residency.