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Simon Farid

I am a sometime artist and moretime art gallery security guard based in London. Over the last two years I have moved away from my previous, relatively successful, art practice which investigated police approaches to identity practices to focus more specifically on the forces at play in my day-job as a gallery guard – I am an overt surveillance worker, embedded within an art institution, subject to the hierarchies and injustices one would expect there. As is common in the UK, most gallery guards are themselves practicing artists, many aspiring to make the transition from guard to guarded. This leaves the institution in the strange place of having lots of super interesting, creative people standing around in rooms for them, but who are otherwise totally unproductive. This missed opportunity has led me to experiment with a number of tactics to prod this situation into directions that could enact new models of working together, exhibiting art and running institutions in a more horizontal way:

1. I collaborate with some of my guarding collegues on really interesting performance and interventionist projects [REDACTED].

2. I collaborate with some other collegues in a public art/guarding group called the ‘Invigilator Research Network’. Together we present public projects exploring different aspects of the guard’s condition, intersecting workers rights, art making ethics, artworld hierarchies and surveillance practices. 

3. I retain a personal practice concerned with these topics. Here is an example of my recent work. Through these various approaches; collaborative, secret, public or personal I am trying to imagine, enact and realise new way of working together within, through and past formal art institutions and structures.

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