Break Blowers
Break Blower
Installation at Reijmyre Glasbruk

SISSI WESTERBERG - Pausblås

2017

The task to develop a product of and about labour in the Performing Labour framework, prompted me to study the work that was happening in the factory; both the work of the glass workers and that of the artist-guest-workers (including my own). What struck me was how hard it was for us (artists) to keep up with the factory schedule. It was not so hard to be there at 6:45am (at least for me who is used to getting up early). What was hard was to take breaks at the designated times. I´m not sure I know how to separate work and life. I always take my coffee while working and have conversations about my work at home (which is maybe the perfect state of a worker in our capitalist society). The Break Blower was an attempt to create a product that could help regulate a confused worker such as myself (with a defined work day with many short, actual breaks), but also an idea of how other people and places could be synchronized with the particular rhythm of Reijmyre Glasbruk, if the piece was transplanted somewhere else. At the glass factory, twenty-two of the inflatable glass objects where placed around the factory and connected to the existing pressurized air system that the glass blowers use as part of the glassmaking process to cool or release the glass at precise points. Through plastic tubes, pneumatic couplings and electric regulators, the air flow was controlled and timed so that the Break Blowers would inflate and deflate during the assigned break times. I was interested in the relationship between the transparency of the inflatable latex parts and the glass bubbles that the glass blowers usually start off with in the glass blowing process, but also the relationship between working and resting, breathing and blowing.
My process of making the piece actually started off with trying to inflate different transparent materials parallel with the glass blowers inflations. I cannot blow glass, but I can make other transparent bubbles I thought, imitating them in my own way. I guess this was part of an ongoing process of trying to be part of this place; an expression of an underlying desire for acceptance that has been there ever since I started working in Rejmyre over ten years ago. One of my first attempts at making a product during the Performing Labour project was a big inflatable break bubble (made with a big roll of plastic wrap, tape, a fan and a timer) that was set up around one of the abandoned break tables (there are less workers at the factory now than some years ago). The Break Bubble, like the Break Blowers, was set to inflate during break time, as a sort of monument to the break.

See the video of the piece: https://vimeo.com/247493353 See the documentary about the process: https://vimeo.com/247847071

Sissi Westerberg has an MFA in metal craft from Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm, where she worked with conceptual jewellery art. To day her work is mostly in the field of sculpture, video and installation, but often with a strong relationship to the body. During recent years, her work has ben focused on site-dependent work in Rejmyre and on commissions for public space in at other public sites. Westerberg has had solo shows at the Rooster Gallery in New York, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Eskilstuna Konstmuseum and Östergötlands Museum in Sweden. She has ben active internationally thorough exhibitions and artist-residencies in Australia, USA, Indonesia and Columbia among others.

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Installation artists 2011 - now


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