Fruit anxiety, Desire and Method
Office for Joint Administrative Intelligence (Chris Dreier and Gary Farrelly)
with interventions by Julia Zinnbauer, Robin Faymonville and Marjolein Guldentops

10.11.21 - 13.01.22
87 Bd Clovis, 1000 Brussels

With the support of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and Irish Council 

(c) Bo Vloors

SB34 is happy to announce the opening of its second space of artist studios and project space at 87 Boulevard Clovis. For this first exhibition, SB34 invites Office for Joint Administrative Intelligence (Gary Farrelly & Chris Dreier) to take its quarters in the atrium, a space with a singular and ambivalent architecture, and at the same time a reception, transit and meeting area.
In this setting, which evokes the lobby of an anonymous company, the exhibition is conceived as an installation-display offering a glimpse into the universe of O.J.A.I., with a scenography by Steven Jouwersma, and within which the artists Julia Zinnbauer, Robin Faymonville and Marjolein Guldentops are also invited to perform.

Playing with the positions of artist-bureaucrats and agents of a self-organization, their practice examines the power and symbolic violence of the administration, its architectural hierarchy common to the State and the company.

O.J.A.I.'s methodical practice draws on the aesthetics, vocabulary and codes of a bureaucracy that seems to come from the dystopian projections of a past both near and far. O.J.A.I.'s conceptual and narrative universe never ceases to expand its boundaries and to nourish semi-fictional connections that lift a sometimes scathing, sometimes oblique and often ironic veil over technological and symbolic dominations. Drawing from both official narratives and conspiracy literature, their work raises the limits of contemporary realism by associating fantasized origins with the factual effects of biopolitics. The core of the practice consists then in adorning itself with the attributes of managerial ideology, its euphemisms, its Newspeak and its methods of individual surveillance. Chris Dreier and Gary Farrelly push the features of their own social character, that of the artist as an executive, or rather of the artist as a profile-model for the executive-worker, dedicating their entire being to their functions. An optimized individual, manipulator of information and overqualified manager, reduced to precariousness, to competition, to the law of the market. Taking advantage of this injunction to creativity pushed to excess, O.J.A.I addresses the new driving force of the capitalist machine, the one that captures from now on the corporality, the mental space, the horizon on what is coming. To the disciplined body, aligned to the desire-master of the capital[1], or literally piloted by the sanitary governance, O.J.A.I. retorts by an incredulous body, which jubilates from the bottom, of knowing its desires subverted by the system. Between rationalization and paranoia, the economic imperative reveals its manic part and the neoliberal order splits on a landscape of passions.

The exhibition is articulated around this reading table with the appearance of a think tank where working documents are presented. It reveals the joyful rigour of the method and its obsessive themes, which ricochet and unfold in the other exhibits as well as in the editions. Since the foundation of O.J.A.I., the associates generate in fact a vast audit, submitting themselves to a systematic inventory, and systematically countersigned, of their individual actions, indexing the states of the body, its sustenance, its displacements, its exercises, but also of their interactions, postal correspondence, scores and other checklists. This archive also deals with the procedures specific to the activities and development of their organization, notably through this network of immaterial alliances, as witnessed by these identity cards of posthumously appointed members, strategically elected among historical celebrities from the scientific, artistic, political and/or queer sectors.

Other internal motifs take us through spaces that evoke the arcana of power and the perversions of the service economy, targeting phallocratic symbols found in urban space, utilitarian architecture, and airport spaces. Here, the perspectives on the city and its networks telescope under the same regime, that of impenetrable zones, of those places swarming with anonymous humans, arousing both political mistrust and sexual fantasies. Thus the map exhibited, which draws a fictitious city built from a collection of buildings arranged on streets whose names, like labels, trace an open narrative on these masked dominations. On the video evoking the surveillance monitor, unfold views filmed in underground pedestrian passages linking with the splint screen several cities among which Dallas, Wuppertal, Berlin, Chișinău, Antwerp and Charleroi. Charleroi, the city to which the vinyl record is also dedicated, which completes the series of sound and radio works that have innervated the duo's practice since their encounter. This city, O.J.A.I. dedicates a large part of its research to it, wandering in its streets, animating performed walks, studying its history, being particularly interested in its public transport network. No doubt because it embodies the brutality of this urban and human condition, left behind by the capital that made it emerge. Remaining relatively out of the spectrum of investments, den of underground communities, it embodies for O.J.A.I. this open ground to what could emerge, after the end, of the time of the work. 

Pauline Hatzigeorgiou

[1] Frédéric Lordon, Capitalisme, désir et servitude. Marx et Spinoza, Paris, La Fabrique éditions, 2010