The St. Petersburg and Kiev-based clothes manufacturing cooperative Shvemy in the performance 12-Hour Workday, created especially for the Triennial, recreates the situation of a real workday at a clothes factory.
“A person working in a sweatshop today resembles a machine that only needs to work and eat.” say the artists. In this action, which critiques the capitalist system of production and consumption, the group’s participants demonstrate solidarity with clothing factory workers in developing countries. For twelve hours straight, Shvemy will make the same clothes, dividing operations between themselves so as to set up something resembling a production line: extremely rapid work, one fifteen-minute lunch break, three trips to the toilet, and conversations limited exclusively to work.
Every item of clothing made during the performance will be sold for the symbolic price of forty-four rubles—the average wage that clothes factory workers in Russia receive per garment. As the artists consider such labor conditions to be unacceptable, they print “Made in Slavery” on their products.