Studio of Exhaustion

Clifton Meador

Recent artist’s books.



A factory in transition from workplace to event venue is haunted by Foucault’s ideas of a disciplinary society and the ghosts of former workers. But I myself feel like a ghost in our society of control—which promises a fake freedom based on precarity and fear.

I was taking pictures of a beautiful factory that was being converted into a venue for cultural use and I vaguely remembered Foucault’s disciplinary societies as social structures in opposition to societies of control. Looking at that factory led me to thinking about the illusion of freedom offered by our gig economy, where the fear and precarity of freelance employment are supposed to represent freedom from the discipline of shift work in a factory.

In his essay “Postscript on the Societies of Control” Gilles Deleuze wrote:

In the disciplinary societies one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control one is never finished with anything–the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation.

This work uses coarse line screens to print photographic images and the instrumentality of representation becomes more interesting than the illusions it attempts to create. The placement of the typography echoes the angles of the line screens and the ghosts of former workers only exists in this work as very blurry typographic forms.  

I printed this book on an offset press, one color at a time—a process something like factory labor.

The pressroom, Alex Pillow washing up, work in progress.