Tomorrow Gallery’s sophomore exhibition LIVE/WORK features a breakthrough presentation by the artist Brad Troemel, known widely for the tumbler-based group The Jogging, co-founded with Lauren Christiansen in 2009. Tomorrow’s director Tara Downs, formerly of Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin, through a combination of courage and grace has become an artists’ gallerist sine qua non, respected for her commitment to emerging practices and projects less likely to find support in typical commercial venues.

Troemel, who has produced several notable online projects tailored to the mechanisms, rapid refresh rates, and low word counts of the internet, instead creates at Tomorrow a physical ecology of contextual complexity and focused attention often destabilized and decentralized on the web.

However, what distinguishes LIVE/WORK is that despite the presentness of the installation, it nonetheless embodies the inflections of Troemel’s interrogation of web-based experience — far beyond the strategy of work made just to be photographed, an over-sited quality used to distinguish art made after the adoption of the World Wide Web. For example, the atypical financial structure incorporated into LIVE/WORK demonstrates one example of how in an era where images demand to be considered amongst the populations of images they participate in, the cultural vanguard likewise is moving past a time when “individual works somehow meant more than the always fluid relationships between them.”

Troemel, who trained as a writer in addition to studying fine arts, lays out these and other fundamental insights into the shifts in artistic culture engendered by the internet in his potentially canonical essay “Athletic Aesthetics.” 

The re-deployment in physical and conceptual terms of cultural phenomena evolved in digital terms speaks to the young artist’s developing thoughtfulness and agility that make him an expansive and reflective resource on the cultural conditions of our collective experiences.

LIVE/WORK, an installation of space-age ant farms, builds on the artist’s lines of inquiries into issues of labor, currency, ecology, consumption, interconnectivity, and the expanded artwork.  Sandwiched between crystal-clear cartridges of plexiglass that hang from the ceiling, ants make their homes in multi-colored layers of gel — commercial variants of NASA’s soil replacement used in ant-based zero-gravity experiments.

The nine ant farms on view each contain three different colors of gel representing unique charities selected by the artist. While tunneling through the gel the ants eat some and excavate the rest, depositing it into piles on the surface. When the exhibition closes at the end of November, the debris the ants have piled up will be weighed and the farm that has accumulated the most debris ‘wins.’ While the ants remain ignorant that their existence has been appropriated as a form of unpaid work, the three charities represented by the winning farm will evenly split an award equal to 10% of the proceeds from the sale of all farms on view.

With debates in full swing on the ethics surrounding big data and the profiteering that occurs when corporations monitor and monetize the identities and behaviors of their users without their knowledge, LIVE/WORK is a poignant reminder that there are powerful yet invisible forces that impact our existence — and that it is an important role of the artist to interrogate those forces, or at least to make them visible.

October 12 – November 30, 2014

Tomorrow Gallery
106 Eldridge Street, New York

Recent Posts


What is a piece of clothing that “works”? Who is working whom? Is the one who poses the one who actually “works” hardest? The S/S 2017 collection of Berlin-based, Swedish- Vietnamese designer NHU DUONG entitled ‘WORK COLLECTION’ plays with the ideas of professionalism, leisure and appropriateness through a range of garments that are inspired by work outfits and hobby uniforms. Overalls, raw denim outfits, kung-fu pyjamas, biker pants, baggy tights and gloves, bomber-jackets, bomber suits,… [read more »]

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene | Agustina Zegers

Preparing to Welcome the Chthulucene is a text made up of living exercises to accompany Haraway’s theorization of the Chthulucene and her upcoming book Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Haraway posits that not only should we name the Anthropocene carefully (including the terms Capitalocene and Plantationocene within its narrative) but that we should also be using this crucial ecological timeframe to move towards a dynamically multi-species, “sym-chtonic“, sym-poietic future: the Chthulucene.… [read more »]

Laboria Cuboniks in Conversation

Laboria Cuboniks is currently a group of 6 women working together online to redefine a feminism adequate to the twenty-first century. They collectively wrote Xenofeminsim: A Politics for Alienation in 2014. Here, in conversation with Postcontemporary Issue guest editors Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik they discuss the dissatisfactions and limitations of historical feminism and the importance of theorizing “the future” as a feminist project. Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: The initial formulation of your political… [read more »]

Situating Global Forms: An Anthropology of Cosmopolitan Science

Aihwa Ong, interviewed by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik Constructing Globality Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik: Your anthropological research pays close attention to specific emerging and inventive configurations of globally-constituted modernization, particularly in East Asia and its diaspora. Throughout this work you identity many ways in which ‘things that used to be fused together — identity, entitlement, territoriality, and nationality — are being taken apart and realigned in innovative relationships and spaces by neoliberal technologies… [read more »]

Ways Of Living ⎮ Arcadia Missa

Ways of Living, curated by the team behind Arcadia Missa, moves beyond the home as a site of political contestation and into the working place, the artist studio, the public sphere, and nature. While so-called ‘social practice’ taught us that any attempt of art to engage with issues outside its own institutional reality are easily coopted into the mythologizing machinery of individualism and patriarchy, art still possesses an ability to address issues far beyond the… [read more »]

What is at Stake in the Future? | Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek

Every ‘future’ inscribes a demand upon the present. This is so whether at the level of human imagination, or within the sphere of political or aesthetic action necessary to reach towards their realisation. Futures make explicit the implicit contents of our own times, crystallising trajectories, tendencies, projects, theories and contingencies. Moreover, futures map the absent within the present, the presents which could never come into actuality, the wreckage of dreams past and desires vanquished. Futures… [read more »]

Dog Plays | Hayley Silverman

Hayley Silverman’s “Dog Plays,” an ongoing series in which a cast of untrained dogs take on the role of characters from a range of pop-culture texts, disrupt the canon of identities traditionally represented in Hollywood as they are re-inhabited by animals. Calling on artifacts ranging from Richard Linklater films, to science-fiction thrillers, to Depression-era musicals that rhapsodize class difference, these performances investigate how our understanding of narrative, authority and identity transforms when we project stories,… [read more »]

A poem by Ser Serpas

ripped apart you rip me apart collage million dead collage donde queda mi cuerpo el temporal como dios en mil partes clothing as point of impact a totem is a wrap around a city as it is engagement with one’s surroundings and engagement with that which has been worn out discarded and filtered into alms buckets and newly tagged i wear my surroundings on my feet when it wears out i see only my vantage… [read more »]

DISCREET Call for Participants

DISCREET – An Intelligence Agency for the People The 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art invites you to apply for one of fifteen spaces open to individuals interested in taking an active part in a three-week-long public workshop conceived of by Armen Avanessian and Alexander Martos for the formation and development of a civil secret service organization. Held from June 22 to July 11, 2016, the workshop brings together renegade experts from art, theory, technology,… [read more »]

Parent and Parroting | Nancy Lupo

Each year retail displays are readied in preparation for the gestation and labor of the catch-all holiday season before floating into a colorless postnatal celebration of mundane plenty. Capitalism’s sympathetic pregnancy makes for a cold and lifeless pas de deux, at times humorously inseparable from the vitality of social milestones. In Parent and Parroting, Nancy Lupo continues with a series of interventions into commercial products and industrialized food. Her interferences often reveal or reconfigure the… [read more »]