How do your dreams come true? Work hard and you will shine like a star. You can reach anything.
Grind & Shine Inc. is a startup company that will operate through the Cake & Cash Curatorial Collective in the bar of the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof for one year starting in July of 2021: Feels like heaven.
With a multi-faceted range of training opportunities, members of the Grind & Shine community are propelled towards their own fulfilling work life. Art provides new impulses as a source of inspiration. Exclusive lifestyle and wellness products increase productivity and enhance an open mindset.
Realities collide at the Harburg train station. Early in the morning, people heading to work in the northern districts of the city pour out of the local Metronom tram. Coming from the opposite direction, the employees of the Kunstverein and the paid and unpaid art workers arrive at the same place around two to five hours later. In the evening they watch the crowds pass by from their office in the Kunstverein’s bar before the last laptop is closed here, too. The waiting time at the platform and the duration of the train ride are all bridged with social media or a dull stare at the passing landscape fleeting by through the window. No matter how they try to endure the daily grind, people are tempted to think about their own plan or vision for life.
Don't we all want a little bit more?
What does self-realization mean for the shift workers on the assembly line? Or for those who work in the city but can never afford to live there?
Don’t those who are part of the dreamy world of art, in which every second-hand Prada purse cries out for individuality, have a fulfilled life one way or another?
Narratives of self-realization or authenticity constantly arise and recede in the everyday lives of artists, curators, and activists; interwoven in a web of structures that call out to be unraveled piece by piece, thread by thread. The search for a solution or improvement of these entangled working relationships is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Opening a collective conversation about this makes it easier to unwind this subject matter. The subversive practices of self-exploitation and the questions about the conditions and illusions of today's (art) working world are collectively explored with reading circles, bar evenings and interventions. A series of exhibitions in the showcases of the Kunstverein complements these communal moments with artistic positions.
The bar of the Kunstverein provides the premises for this, by being not only a place of pleasure and leisure, but also the office of the employees.
Cake & Cash symbolically charges it with furnishings designed to increase efficiency and installs a workspace design from a land of nightmarish imagery: yoga mats, indoor palm trees, and posters with motivational sayings simultaneously provide the necessary Instagramability to share the image of success and self-realization situated directly in the world of social media. Pink plastic chairs and an inflatable sofa exude the aura of the millennium in Silicon Valley and provide the potential of unlimited fun while working. At the end of the day, soothing eye pads are await us in the restrooms, because even after a hard day, dark circles have no place on the images we constantly produce of ourselves.
The Cake & Cash Curatorial Collective is a feminist exchange and exhibition project that has occupied the HFBK Gallery since the winter semester 2020/21 and utilizes this as a research lab. In May of 2021, Cake & Cash founded Grind & Shine Incorporation at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof. Cake & Cash is the organizer of the Pop & Squat online festival for feminist networking at art colleges and can be heard, among other things, in the Radical Solidarity series of This Is Germany and at the rC3 of the ChaosComputerClub.
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