Toy Boat Task
Get Friday is a virtual personal assistant service based in Bangalore, India, typically providing remote executive support for a largely American client base. I am a part of that client base, paying monthly fees for a primary assistant who works out of the Get Friday office in India. My “assistant” is a 25-year-old male Bangalore resident named Akhil. In paying for our relationship I am not trying to lighten my work load, but rather to attempt collaborative projects and even reversals of the normative outsourcing flow under a corporate contract arranged for one-way command. As a boy, Akhil would build toy boats and cars out of parts salvaged from other toys. He had to hide them from his father, who thought the toys were a distraction from his studies at his English-language school in Kerala, India. It is also important to note that Akhil proudly claims that he has taken every electronic device in his family’s house apart (except for the fridge). I asked Akhil what he wishes he could be doing at work; he said electronics and engineering. So we decided that he would design a construction manual for the boats he used to make. I gathered the necessary materials and have been building toy boats according to Akhil’s instructions. I sent him one of the boats in the mail, so that he could make use of it.
This installation includes printed email exchanges between Akhil and I that reveal how the task developed, one of the toy boats I built, the video Akhil made with the boat I sent him, a cubicle panel, an office desk, and a disassembled flat panel monitor.
Andrew Norman Wilson currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. He holds a B.S. from Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communication and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked as a curator for Artists’ Television Access in San Francisco, a video editor for Google at their headquarters in Mountain View, a researcher for the labor union UNITE HERE, and a video editor for filmmakers Craig Baldwin and Sam Green. Past exhibitions and presentations include the De Young Museum, The Banff Center, UCLA, UCSD, The Academy of Fine Arts Finland, The Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The TINT Arts Lab, threewalls Gallery, video_dumbo, The Iowa City Documentary Film Festival, The Abandon Normal Devices festival, Krowswork Gallery, Extra Extra Gallery, and Other Cinema. He is a 2011 recipient of the Dedalus Foundation MFA fellowship and the Edward Ryerson Fellowship.