As a camera descends through a fictitious office building, Building Things (2021) offers glimpses into room after room where various scenes unfold, alternating between the mundane and the absurd. Amidst the standard vernacular of an office space — a desk, clock, filing cabinet, and fluorescent lighting — an unnamed worker takes part in increasingly non-administrative activities, involving everything from paper airplanes to bikes, balloons, and physical injury. Some of these scenes speak to the monotony of everyday tasks; others evoke the feeling of an entire life, milestones and all, spent within four bland walls. These tragi-comic vignettes poke fun at the conventions of the office space and the routines of the workday, as the heightened choreography distills the everyday and parodies office culture.
"People who do not have a studio, people with proper jobs and important things to do who don’t actually need one, maybe think a studio is special, a bit mysterious. But really its just a room, a room that’s a bit cold and draughty. A room to try to make art in. We try to make art most days, in this room to try to make art in, and for that reason the studio isn’t special, it isn’t a bit mysterious.
"We don’t have a proper job, we are told quite often, we don’t go to the office and do important things, we’ve never sent a fax to Chicago. So maybe that’s why the idea of an office, for us, is special, a bit of a mystery. Maybe that’s why we built an office in our studio. Maybe that’s why one of the art we tried to make is Building Things."
— Wood and Harrison
"What are so many of us obsessively discussing in the pandemic era? Going back to the office. Wood and Harrison, with a mix of humor and pathos, ask their audience a follow-up question: what will you do when you get there?"
— Cristin Tierney
About Wood and Harrison
John Wood (b. 1969, lives in Bristol) and Paul Harrison (b. 1966, lives in Liverpool) make single-channel videos, multi-screen video installations, prints, drawings, and sculptures.
About Cristin Tierney Gallery
Founded in 2010, Cristin Tierney Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located on The Bowery with a deep commitment to the presentation, development and support of a roster of both established and emerging artists. Its program emphasizes artists engaged with critical theory and art history, with an emphasis on conceptual, video, and performance art. Education and audience engagement is central to their mission.