This summer I got the lovely opportunity to intern and live in New York City, something I don’t normally get to do as I’m usually stuck up in school in the suburbs. Interning two days a week for GLAAD left me with a lot of free time to see friends, eat an excessive amount of Vanessa’s dumplings in the LES, browse Growlr, attend gallery openings, and generally laze around and watch a lot of Game of Thrones on my laptop.

One opening in a gallery that really goes off the radar really stuck with me though, and now I’m finally writing about it. My good friend Stephen has a particular knack for landing odd jobs and internships via NYC’s craiglist ads. Over the break he got involved with a new gallery called American Medium, strangely located a few blocks above Union Square right on Broadway and 18th. The space is owned by one of the curator’s fathers, and is mostly rented out as a photo/video shoot space. Every once in awhile when clients aren’t renting space, the curator’s set up an exhibition for the intent of an opening, and perhaps one day of showing before they tear it down again. It seems like a lot of work to curate a show just to tear it down again, but these guys gladly do it.

The show I had the pleasure of seeing open was “MOVEMENT MATERIALS AND WHAT WE CAN DO” by Andrew Norman Wilson, an artist who worked with Google a few years back who noticed a particularly disturbing fact about the tech giant. Wilson discovered the “ScanOps” employees working at Google’s international headquarters in Silicon Valley. He noticed these workers to mostly be that of color, and that they were released earlier than the majority of other Google employees. Another shocking fact Wilson unveiled was the second class status these workers were given. Google works under different tiered “colors” that allow access to different employee perks: free cafeteria food, the Google bikes, and etc. The ScanOps workers were not given such benefits, and were merely employed by Google to undertake the large task of converting analog books into digital copies which you can find on the ever expanding Google Books library.

For the exhibit, Wilson created a very “Google-esque” work environment complete with yoga mats, coaches, and a handful of business casually dressed performers silently tapping away at their laptop/tablet keyboards. Hanging around the exhibit too were photographs Wilson discovered in Google Books documents of ScanOps employees accidentally photographing their fingers to point to the existence of these “secret” workers that slave away at the Google HQ. He also gave a lecture on the project itself and reporting his findings leading up to his removal from Google.

The opening was back in June, and the gallery hasn’t had a physical show since, but has been keeping up with online showing such as one from a favorite new media artist of mine Francoise Gamma entitled “In’vocation“. Coming up this October is a performance entitled “I AM THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD” by performance artist/choreographer Jake Dibeler on October 14th. I can’t wait!

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