Josh Kline’s darkly humorous practice is grounded in an exploration of humanity’s fascination with efficiency and technology which often occurs at the cost of our very nature. His work exists at the uneasy crossroads between the enchanting sterility of technological progress and the crude corporeality and baseness of human existence, exploiting a mixed language of both; part mall and part morgue.
Keep the Change suggests that the current societal and economic structure, which is so invested in the efficiency of labour and life, leads to the emotional and personal disintegration of the worker. With the use of 3D printing, Kline literally fragments the worker’s body, creating grotesquely comic polymeric replicas of human limbs. Here, human flesh is aligned with food, a disturbing equation which renders the foot as distant from the human as the plated steak from a cow.
Hands are the age-old symbol of the labourer, but Kline goes further than to simply invoke the Marxist paradigm of alienation, producing a work that is more insidious in its suggestion of complicity. For Kline, 3D scanning and printing is not just a manufacturing technique, but a metaphor for how we upload our personal data to online databases, creating a myriad of immaterial clones. We dismantle ourselves onto the internet, pixelating and dispersing our bodies and minds. Kline takes this to its logical conclusion in Keep the Change: projecting a dystopian future in order to prevent it. It is not for nothing that the words ‘WARNING AVOID INJURY’ beam up from the table in black and yellow: the viewer would do well to heed Kline’s advice.