Pilvi Takala came to talk about her work, she started by discussing a performance piece called ‘The Trainee’ where she pretended to be a trainee at the accounting firm Deloitte. She would ride the lift up and down all day and sit at her desk doing no work, staring into space. When people asked if she needed something to do she would say she was doing ‘brain work’. The video gives you the feeling the employees think there is something not right with the trainee, as they question her activity with managers through emails.
I felt this was interesting in relation to how we perceive and attempt to help people with potential mental illness, in the video there is a feeling amongst the employees that something usual is happening and to some extent unsettling behaviour is taking place with in their work environment, but the extremity of response seems to be to report this to a more senior member of staff through email and not to engage with the situation personally.
The second work discussed was ‘The Stoker’ more info…
The Stroker is a two-channel video installation based on Takala’s two week-long intervention at Second Home, a trendy East London coworking space for young entrepreneurs and startups. During the intervention Takala posed as a wellness consultant named Nina Nieminen, the founder of cutting-edge company Personnel Touch who were allegedly employed by Second Home to provide touching services in the workplace. Nina strolled around Second Home being friendly to everyone, greeting and lightly touching people as she passed them by. It gets the office talking, workers gossip amongst themselves, visibly bonding over a common confusion – she was nicknamed ‘The Stroker
Pilvi Takala’s works can be seen at pilvitakala.com