Work. It just sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? And most of us have to do it in order to eat and to pay the rent, regardless of our very high-quality university degrees. Ideally, though, the skills and concepts learned through those degrees, as well as through equally necessary autodidacticism and independent experimentation, can help us to deal with our workaday miseries. Theo Macdonald achieves this and then some in “Time Theft,” a six-minute slide show of photographs taken in the basement of the retail shop where he has worked for the past sixteen months. According to the voiceover, he has to wear a gas mask down there because of what management calls “toxic dust,” and he also has to endure racism, dishonesty, faulty plumbing and wiring, outsourcing, and other grotesqueries of corporate commercial culture. The source of this wretchedness appears, based on the merch in storage, to be an art store, so it is ironic that Macdonald has turned to art making in order to exhume, transfer, and otherwise process his experiences. I suppose it’s either that, stand-up comedy or the Department of Labor—but then he’d probably be out of a job.
—Lori Waxman 2020-02-22 8:06 PM