New Criticals

Karen Blissett categorises her most recent artwork Senior Management, An Inspirational Guide, as art for offices. She appropriates a simple enough format, an old-style boardroom slideshow presentation. It is a multi-format artwork available via Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Tumblr and as hi-resolution digital prints, on corporate display screens and computer desktops. Here, she uses her anonymity to create an "open situation in which none in particular is responsible," (4) and to launch a guerrilla style assault on the administrators of contemporary power. Viewers are addressed as senior management wannabes. We are offered a chilling sequence of managerial catchphrases (derived from found texts culled from real boardroom exchanges and managerial correspondences), alongside images of besuited managers with flaccid penises spliced into the centres of their faces. I don’t know of many other artworks that operate in this genre of comedy horror but I expect it will resonate with many people’s experience of the workplace in these times of austerity. I was especially fascinated by two things: the work's simultaneous banality and brutality and, given its at least superficial waggishness, its failure to circulate online. So I contacted her by email to request an interview. She agreed.