#prank4offices

Welding, Philip (2015) #prank4offices. FORMAT International Photography Festival.

Abstract

The output is a creative project, #pranks4offices, consisting of a series of photographs. Research process: Over several years, Welding has regularly searched the hashtag ‘#officepranks’, and collected an archive of hundreds of vernacular images. This led him to make informal comparisons on an aesthetic and process level with the work of art photographers. Iamronjay42 and Iaminstapauli0 were the Instagram names of two fictional office workers that engaged in a fictional office prank war. These characters were created as a vehicle to make the project #prank4offices for FORMAT International Photography Festival in 2015. Their office desks were set up in the exhibition venue at either end of the room, positioned facing each other. Over a number of weekends in March 2015, a series of pranks were staged on their desks, photographed then dismantled. The photographs were shared on the Instagram accounts, with the characters commenting on each other’s posts and continuing the fictional narrative. In the final exhibition, the two desks remained; one was surrounded by 700 plastic cups filled with water, the other completely wrapped in cling film. The audience was directed to view the photographs of the previous pranks on their phones whilst they stood in the exhibition space, revealing evidence of the office prank war. Research insights: The project raises questions about the role of creativity within the sphere of art practice and within everyday environments and the project playfully considers the merging of these two areas of production. The project also continues an ongoing critique of our relationships with daily working lives, where creative activities often run counter to the wider company aspirations of productivity. Dissemination: The project was disseminated at the FORMAT International Photography Festival, Derby, 13 March – 12 April 2015.

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