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Labor and its near constant manifestation in the 21st century consumes Xin Xin’s exhibition Labor in a Single Shot. The title derives from a project of the same name by the late filmmaker Harun Farocki and curator Anttje Ehmann. Xin sees the Lumiere film as marking a clear distinction between what is work and what is leisure, “It’s such a strong visible representation of the possibility of departure,” they explain. “In today’s digital world how do we visualize leaving the factory?” Xin explores this very question in Semiotics of Human-Computer Interaction, a two-channel video that shows them in front of a green screen running in place, jumping back and forth, and taking photos of themself with a selfie-stick. All the while the beeps and clicks of the sounds of our phones accompany Xin’s actions. While slyly humorous and playful, the video touches on the deeper concerns of how our interpersonal use of mobile devices, so often presented in the guise of games or touchable action, is easily exploited as labor, our profitable personal data served up to corporations. As Xin explains, “There is the facade of connectivity and play but actually you are performing labor without your consent.” The immaterial becomes physical as Xin jumps back and forth to the all too-familiar sounds of our phones.
Xin Xin is an interdisciplinary artist and education working a the intersection of technology, labor, and identity. Xin co-founded voidLab, a LA-based intersectional feminist collective dedicated to women, trans, and queer folks. They initiated the School of Otherness which seeks to empower marginalized communities through storytelling, forums, and workshops that process experiences of the other. Their work has been exhibited at Ars Electronics, the Hammer Museum, Gene Siskel Film Center, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and Machine Project.