Your Life Work
ART+TECH Artist-in-Residence Program at Cerritos College
March 1-April 1
Reception: March 1 from 6:00 – 9:00pm
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Inspired by Beatriz Cortez’s time as the 2015 Art+Tech Artist-in-Residence, the exhibition ‘Your Life Work’ invites the viewer to imagine different possibilities for the present, and the future, through a series of speculative interventions into the past. The large-scale installation explores the way vocational education was conceived as part of a plan for population control that put into practice ideas about the predetermination of people’s lives that were inherited from colonial times and then recycled into modern national discourse. In other words, the installation explores the role of education in the predetermination of different groups of people based on divisions of class and race. The exhibition invites the viewer to examine critically the links between education, biopolitics, and capitalism, particularly through ideas put into practice during World War I and World War II. In addition, the installation examines the social and pedagogical implications of a series of educational videos titled ‘Your Life Work,’ which were originally made in the 1940s in Iowa. These videos functioned as an effective mechanism to further the ideas expressed in the Federal Vocational Education Act of 1917, a historical effort to streamline people into the workforce by establishing a clear distinction between vocational training and higher education, thereby widening the gap between the industrial workforce and creative/intellectual processes. By coopting the productive possibilities of the standard tools and materials used within the vocationally-oriented Automotive Collision Repair program at Cerritos, the exhibition explores the creative potential of metal shaping as a practice that can exist both within industrial labor and outside of it, as part of a creative practice.