This is Sarah Browne’s first solo exhibition in Sweden and begins a new series of solo exhibitions within Marabouparken’s BOX gallery. Report to an Academy is the second exhibition within Acts of Self Ruin, Marabouparken Konsthall’s long term exhibition programme dedicated to exploring the struggle for collectivity and equality in an age of individualism. With this presentation Browne explores the alienation of the workplace and the physical stresses exerted on workers’ bodies. The workshops in particular offer a way to discuss, share and connect our experiences of work. Report to an Academy was originally commissioned by Manual Labours, a research project focused on the ‘complaining body’ in the contemporary workplace in 2016.
The key work in the exhibition is a film essay also titled Report to an Academy that explores an art school as a Kafkaesque, neoliberal workplace, where language is a tool of conflict. Report to an Academy is a reworking ofthe Kafka story of the same title. In the original story, an ape delivers an address to a gathering on his transition into human life. Within Report to an Academy the protagonist is an octopus who tells us of her motivation to escape her human form and transform herself into an octopus in the search for new forms of expression and physical agility.
Report to an Academy builds on Browne’s and her colleagues’ experience of working within a university. A series of workshops with staff and students at the Royal Institute of Art and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design explore different ways of responding to institutional language through activities such as constructing poetry from graffiti within the art school, and materialising spaces of non-complaint through basic mouth-casting techniques. Versions of the workshop are also happening in Glasgow School of Art & University College Dublin. The workshop and film hope to articulate, share and re-imagine bodily experiences of work within institutions of knowledge production. Elements from the workshops can be found within the exhibition guide.