Make or Break is an ongoing collaboration between Sydney artists Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo that began in 2015. So far this project has taken the form of using galleries as live work spaces; performing personal admin for an audience; co-writing texts; circulating fictional currencies; making books; and facilitating conversations and workshops as an alternative to traditional forms of research.
In October 2016, the artists engaged an accredited valuer under the Cultural Gifts Program to value the Make or Break live studio project. The full valuation will be published in the next issue of Runway: Australian Experimental Art in late November 2016.
For Back of House Gallery, a curatorial project by Kent Wilson, the figure arrived at by the valuation is converted into wallpaper, with the total ‘value’ of the Make or Break studio project displayed in denominations from $50 through to 5c. As curator, Wilson assembles and photocopies the currency under instructions from the artists, with his labour – and complicity in reproducing currency – enabling this public presentation of worth. Make or Break’s ‘Wallpaper Currency’ critiques the subjectivity of value generation and the fragility of currencies.
REVOLUTIONISING THE ARTIST BIO
In October 2016, Make or Break was invited to conduct a workshop as part of Trade School by The Mechanics Institute (Sanné Mestrom and Jamie Hall). Trade School was commissioned for What Happens Now?, the 2016 Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab.
Make or Break hosted a group of participants in an interactive workshop titled Revolutionising the artist bio. The idea came out of a panel discussion at Kudos Gallery in May 2016, hosted by Make or Break with Clare Cooper and Benjamin Forster, where alternative approaches to the artist bio were explored.
For the workshop, Make or Break worked with a group of artists and arts professionals to rethink the standardised written ‘artist bio’ in ways that values the unseen, affective labour that goes in to supporting and sustaining an artistic career. By rewriting ourselves, we reshape what we do and how we value it – on our own terms, not according to the value systems of institutional and funding bodies.
In April 2016, Make or Break presented Life Admin at ‘Golden Hour’, a MCA Artbar curated by Kate Scardifield. Life Admin exposes the invisible labour required to maintain one’s artistic career, presenting it as a performance or ritual. Using the ‘art as entertainment’ format of ArtBar, the artists used this time to complete 4 hours of ‘paid admin’ in front of an audience.
Dressed in golden jumpsuits with a bedazzled office fit-out, the artists stood facing one another at computers in the MCA Level 2 foyer. Both artists’ laptops were hooked up to livestream projectors as they updated their websites and social media accounts, wrote grant applications and invoices, updated their CVs, etc. The audience bore witness to the performance of very mundane tasks in a highly stylised and overtly ‘performed’ setting: the performance of the everyday.
Another iteration of Life Admin was presented at Kudos Gallery for the launch of the exhibition ART/WORK in May 2016, curated by Anna May Kirk.