Amy Borezo, “Labor/Movement (seven workers)”
Artist: Amy Borezo (Orange, MA)
Title: Labor/Movement (seven workers) (2012)
Medium/technique(s): Hand-set metal and wood type, photopolymer plate printing, folios sewn onto concertina structure
Edition size: 25
Number of pages: 20
Dimensions, open: 12 x 70 x .5″ in
Dimensions, closed: 12 x 14 x 1″ in
Labor/Movement (seven workers) depicts movement visually in book form, while calling attention to the complexity of everyday human activity, specifically physical labor. The book tracks the motions of seven workers over a brief period of time with lines that change in length, width and color. These movements were captured using a bird’s-eye-view stock video of construction workers on a building site. As the segments of motion grow on the recto of each page, lines intersect and interact, joining to form an intricate pattern on top of a static industrial floor. Shades of silver ink overlap to create a rich, opulent field that belies the seemingly humble activity. Each folio is sewn onto the mountain fold of a concertina. When the concertina is fully extended by the reader, a portion of each page can be seen simultaneously with each other page, exposing the frame by frame growth of the movement pattern. The reader/viewer is implicated in the performance of the book and asked to be aware of her movements as she interacts with the piece.
These abstract reductions of the movements of workers are inspired by the work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth who developed time and motion studies in the early 20th century to improve worker efficiency and productivity. Their work broke down any job into a series of discreet movements that could be repeated by anyone, obviating the need for specialized and skilled laborers. While these studies improved working conditions for some, they also began an insidious process of dehumanizing labor. The Gilbreths made films of workers, often placed in front of gridded walls to study their movements. In this book, the motions of workers are also seen against a gridded backdrop, but here it is a skewed and jumbled depiction of rebar on a building site.
The imagery is paired with ‘Lecture on Moving,’ a text by Yvonne Rainer, reprinted with permission of the author, originally published in Aspen magazine, 1971. Yvonne Rainer is an avant-garde dancer and filmmaker whose dance work often highlights everyday movements. In the text, YR leads a group through an exercise designed to make the participants more aware of their physical presence in the world and call attention to the basic dignity of the human body. She lists the dictionary definitions of a variety of action words, that, when placed in the context of the performance and this artist book become evocative of more than their simple definitions.
Printed by the artist on a Vandercook SP-20 and bound by the artist in Hanover, NH and Orange, MA in the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012. Hand-set metal and wood type, body text in Palatino. Images printed from photopolymer plates. 20 pages. Edition of 25. Housed in a clamshell box.