Photo: Jeremiah Wilson Courtesy of the artist, Kvadrat and New Museum, New York

Cally Spooner
On False Tears and Outsourcing


New Museum, New York

Cally Spooner’s project at the New Museum was the first exhibition that Kvadrat supported at the Museum, which also lead to the starting of a dialogue about a more long-term collaboration, eventually resulted in the three-year partnership launched in 2017.

For her first solo and institutional presentation in the United States, Cally Spooner (b. 1983, Ascot, UK) has produced a new installation for the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. “On False Tears and Outsourcing” comprises a series of architectural additions to the gallery space and the presence of a group of dancers who respond to conflicting choreographic instructions: to stay intimately bound together while remaining fiercely separate. Trained by rugby players and a movie director, and following the logic of a “stand-up scrum”—a daily meeting often used in collaborative, responsive practices such as software development—the dancers have learned a set of techniques taken from contact sports, management strategies, and on-screen romance. Through attempts to seduce, defend, and self-organize, the group has devised a sequence of movements in response to simple tasks set by Spooner. The long glass wall that separates the Lobby Gallery from the New Museum Lobby is a central feature of the installation. Using the gallery’s condition of high visibility, Spooner considers the characteristics of corporate and museum architectures by amplifying and exaggerating certain qualities in the space through the use of soft acoustic panels, daylight bulbs, and background noise. Through this intersection of bodies and architectures of management, Spooner examines how power presents itself when it comes into contact with the human body.

"On False Tears and Outsourcing" is part of Spooner’s long-term project of the same name, which was initiated at Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands, in 2015. Considering the production of affect, the contradictions faced by hired bodies, and the dynamics of using or being used as a human resource, the project stages situations in which a heightened demand for communication drives the outsourcing of personal investment to readymade gestures and protocols.

South into North’s role in this project is part of our work consulting Kvadrat on their collaborations with artists and art institutions internationally.

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New Museum, New York