Secretary I, 2016, digital collage, 8x10in
Secretary II, 2016, digital collage, 8x10in
Secretaries, 2016, digital collage, 8x10in
Secretaries, a new series of digital collages, is the result of extensive research into the ways in which hierarchies, and in particular gendered power relations in the office are inscribed onto office furniture. The images embedded in these collages are appropriated from office furniture catalogues from a range of manufacturers such as Herman Miller, Krueger and Steelcase. Many of these date from the early 1970 to the 1990s, as this period is widely understood to have witnessed the birth and consolidation of the standardized office cubicle. Some of these found images depict unpopulated showrooms, others seemingly candid office landscapes populated by secretaries as props to demonstrate the functionality of the furniture. The repetition of these display strategies – secretary as prop turned with her back towards the viewer, contained within the cubicle – reveal the hierarchies of gender and status embedded in the very design of the office landscape and furniture. The collages in Secretaries aim to disrupt this singular reading by meshing together multiple contrasting images according to patterns borrowed from Anni Albers’ textile designs.