SHIFT / Géraldine Honauer (CH), Photo: tom mesic


Géraldine Honauer (CH)

Artificial Intelligence & Life Art

Honorary Mention

SHIFT is a process-oriented artwork that examines the economics of labor, bridging the gap between the real world and the increasingly commodified virtual world. The web3-enabled SHIFT platform offers the rental of digital work clothes as wearables in virtual worlds. Using blockchain technology and smart contracts, SHIFT autonomously manages the rental process and issues a ‘proof of work’ certificate in the form of NFTs, which includes information such as the blockchain address, timestamp, location, and fee amount paid in the project’s cryptocurrency.

Exploring the differences and interactions between the value of labor as a product and the value of labor as a workforce, SHIFT examines artistic production, understood both as labor activity and as the creation of consumer goods distributed in an art market based on a complex web of interactions between artists, cultural institutions, dealers, and collectors.

At the same time, SHIFT investigates the recent emergence of cryptocurrencies based on blockchain technologies, which are having a significant impact not only on the art trade but also on the economy of both real and digital goods. (…)

Honauer thus examines the new norms of work carried out by both machines and humans, the socio-economic values derived from it, and the new practices of monetization in the art world, and proposes a reflective and experiential perspective on the link between the physical and the digital, and how we can navigate and understand it.

Jury Statement

While NFTs, blockchain technologies, and metaverse implementations are pervasively advertised as alleged means of digital self-enhancement and self-empowerment for artists, SHIFT literally shifts the focus to shift work as capitalist strategy and work shifts that artists execute outside their actual practice to ‘work for their work,’ confusing the act and the product of labor. Updating strategies of institutional critique, Géraldine Honauer parallels, on the one hand, the exhibition of her work suit as a museum invigilator as artwork while making proof of work certificates available as NFTs and, on the other hand, creates digital twins to rent corporate workwear for virtual work shifts, thus pointing to less glamorous hidden labor in an increasingly digitized art system.

Excerpt from the jury statement


3D Animation: Elen Kimi

Special thanks to: Armin Blasbichler, Tizian Baldinger, Amelie Mckee & Melle Nieling (Plicnik Collective), Raphael Stucky, Toby Üpson, Boris Magrini

Géraldine Honauer (CH)

Géraldine Honauer, (b. 1986), is an artist and curator whose work explores the dynamics between existing systems. Her conceptual, research-based practice takes the form of site-specific installations, appropriated materials, and interventions in both physical and digital spaces. In 2021, she was the artist in residency at ACME Studios London, supported by the Aargauer Kuratorium; in 2022 she was nominated for the Swiss Art Awards.