breadbedanti04.jpg
2004, kuopio finland: at the office of the kuopio area employment union.

during the time of caesar, the romans viewed bread as a political tool. in order to pacify the people and discourage revolt, bread was distributed freely to the poor at state-organized circuses.

“what the people want is bread and circuses.”

nine people are hired through kuopio’s unemployment office to produce a bed made of bread. the job description is to make a bed using twenty-five loaves of white-sliced bread. the bed is to be constructed in a slow and leisurely fashion, with time taken for coffee breaks and socializing. after the bed is made the person lies down on the bed. people are hired for half a day to “lay down on the job”, and to gain comfort from their “daily bread”.

In bread-bed the laborer lies down on the job and produces no product. It is an act that refuses to equate human value with performance quotas. It is also a peaceful and strangely quieting activity, to make a place for one’s own body and to occupy that space.


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