Durational Community-Engagement Performance ArtWORK

Artist Statement – March 2015

For a period of 3 weeks from 9-5 daily I will be offering my untrained labour, my body, my life for hire by the hour to the general public.

I will be available for hire at rates that will change daily and will be commensurate with the approximate hourly wages received by other specific labourers around the world.

I will perform any task set by the employers with 5 stipulations:

  1. The labour must be performed within the set gallery work-space
  2. I will not perform labour that causes direct harm to others
  3. If my body is handled protective gear must be used
  4. My body must be returned at the end of the employment period in the same general condition in which it was hired
  5. The employer can leave set tasks or interact with my body directly but only the employer will be permitted within the work-space

The workspace will be open at all times to the general public and will be recorded using CCTV but no other recording devices will be permitted.

Casey Jenkins, March 2015

Workers and their stories
different wage rates
on-site work hours

What makes one human’s life & time ‘worth’ more than that of another? Why does paid labour leave such an indelible mark on the perceived identities of Workers, yet not on those who dictate the nature of the labour, the Employers?

Our pragmatic but crude attempts to transcribe something as sublime & unfathomable as human lives, time & existence into the clumsy & stilted language of money fascinates me & it is this process & the reverberations of these translations that I explored with Body of Work.

We all give ourselves over to the service of others, sometimes with joy, sometimes with resignation, sometimes for a lot of $, other times for none. We all sell portions of our lives & we all buy portions of others’ lives. All of us, every day.

In Body of Work, the public was invited to buy a portion of mine.

Video by Anna Brownfield


In Body of Work I offered my untrained labour for hire to the general public from 9-5 daily for three weeks.

I was willing to do pretty much any work requested, so long as I was paid the set hourly rate.
Each day the rate that I was available for hire at changed to correspond with that received by another specific worker somewhere in the world, the work stories of whom were displayed in the gallery work-space.  Depending on which worker’s wage rate the Employer chose to hire me at, I could be set to work for as little as $0 or as much as $1,586,852.


Durational Community-Engagement Performance ArtWORK


9-5 daily from March 21 – April 10, 2015

+ 3hr Opening Night Work-Shift Performance, March 20


Dark Horse Experiment Gallery, Melbourne Australia

Employment Contract

Worker Wage Rates | Tasks | Equipment

Worker’s Wage Rates At Which I Was Available For Hire

March 20: Opening Night – Available for 4 different rates at which I myself have previously been employed: $0p/h | Speaker at Museum of Old & New Art; $7p/h | Farm Labourer; $175p/h | Sex Worker in a brothel; $350p/h | Speaker for Festival Of Live Art

  • Mar 21: Juliet | Steam Engineer | $9.5p/h
  • Mar 22: Kim | Freelance Writer | $3p/h
  • Mar 23: Nemo | Council Employed Street Artist | $200p/h
  • Mar 24: Ryda | Stripper ‘Tradies Day’ | $100p/h
  • Mar 25: Ryda | Stripper ‘Dead Day’ | -$10p/h (negative wage so I would pay Employers)
  • Mar 26: Melody | Disability Support Worker | $25p/h
  • Mar 27: Mark | Graphic Designer | $4.05p/h
  • Mar 28: Casey’s Mum | Child Bearer/Parent | $0p/h
  • Mar 29: Thuong | Contract Textile Worker | $6.5p/h
  • Mar 30: Gina | Mining Heir | $380,000p/h
  • Mar 31: HAHA | Convicted Street Artist | -$1,200p/h (negative wage so I would pay Employers)
  • Apr 1: Mark | Facebook CEO Official Wage | $0p/h
  • Apr 2: Mars | Society Of Friends Of Art Worker | Pay in kind
  • Apr 3: Shula | Body Collector | $12.5p/h
  • Apr 4: Mia | Prison Inmate Dishwasher | $1.26p/h
  • Apr 5: Freyja | Bud Trimmer | $15p/h
  • Apr 6: Sonja | Sexual Submissive in BDSM Dungeon | $240p/h
  • Apr 7: Mark | Facebook CEO Wage With Perks | $1,586,852p/h
  • Apr 8: Kylych | Coal Miner Kyrgyzstan | $0.38p/h
  • Apr 9: Shannon | Lab Rat | $15p/h
  • Apr 10: Neville | Indigenous Tour Guide/Artist | $25p/h
Approved Work Tasks (un-ordered)
  • Darn hole in bag
  • Entertain a child
  • Campaign against against the closure of indigenous communities in Western Australia (explicit instructions regarding phrases and gestures that form the ‘campaigning’ as well as placards and flyers to be provided by the Employer)
  • Give hair-cuts (scissors/mirror provided by Employer)
  • Compile tax receipts
  • Research and file specific photographs online for Academic
  • Act as Submissive (undress, be tethered to pole, lick Employer’s feet)
  • Printmaking (materials and training provided)
  • Make prank phone-calls
  • Nap while Employer composes poem
  • Sew quilting squares (materials & instructions provided by Employer)
  • Perform sex act and be covered in paint (directions, paint & cleaning equipment provided by Employer, time spent cleaning work-space & body will form part of paid employment)
  • Remote PA duties – hired from US to check Employer’s website for missing links, typos general readability.
  • Perform traditional tea ceremony (directions given by Employer)
  • Model for erotic polaroid shoot (photos left with Artist)
  • Research potential grants for Employer to apply for, listen to Employer’s grant application ideas & respond with positive encouragement (explicit wording of ‘positive encouragement’ phrases to be uttered by Casey provided by Employer in writing)
  • Wear & sell Cock-Teez branded clothing
  • Child-minding
  • Produce stream of consciousness writing for an hour
  • Book binding (materials and instructions provided)
  • Read poetry aloud
  • Construct water-feature (instructions and materials supplied)
  • Repair curtains
  • Model and promote GunShy clothing to gallery visitors
  • Research to find hat suppliers
  • Rehearsal assistant – read from script with Actor
  • Transcribe audio files for Journalist
  • Cut vegetables
  • Read selected articles
  • Update Employer’s twitter account (login & tweets supplied)
On-Site Equipment
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needles & Thread
  • Drill
  • Hammer & Nails
  • Small Box Child’s Toys
  • Bib
  • Ironing Board
  • Iron
  • Laptop (crappy) with internet connection (also crappy)
  • Bed
  • Linen, Condoms & Dental Dams
  • Type-Writer (semi-functional)
  • Paper & Pens

Employers were able to bring extra equipment & items onto the work site but they were required to remove them at the end of the shift

These are the stories of the labour of my performance, the Workers whose wage-rates I laboured at, and the Employers who bought portions of my time and life:

Sat March 21: Juliet | Steam Engineer: $9.50 p/h

Sat March 21: Juliet | Steam Engineer: $9.50 p/h

Sun March 22: Kim | Freelance Writer: $3 p/h

Mon March 23: Nemo | Consultant Street Artist: $200 p/h

Tue March 24: Ryda | Stripper ‘Tradies Day’: $100 p/h

Wed March 25: Ryda | Stripper ‘Dead Shift’: -$10 p/h

Thu March 26: Melody | Disability Support Worker: $25 p/h

Fri March 27: Mark | Graphic Designer: $4.05 p/h

Sat March 28: Casey’s Mum | Child Bearer/Parent: $0 p/h

Sun March 29: Thuong | Textile Outworker: $6.5 p/h

Tues March 31: HAHA | Convicted Street Artist: -$1200p/h

Tues March 31: HAHA | Convicted Street Artist: -$1200p/h

Wed April 1: Mark | Facebook CEO Official Wage: $0p/h

Wed April 1: Mark | Facebook CEO Official Wage: $0p/h

Thur April 2: Mars | Society of Friends of Art Worker: Pay In-Kind

Fri April 3: Shula | Body Collector: $12.5p/h

Fri April 3: Shula | Body Collector: $12.5p/h

Sat April 4: Mia | Prison Inmate Dishwasher: $1.26p/h

Sun April 5: Freyja | Bud Trimmer: $15p/h

Mon April 6: Sonja | Sexual Submissive BDSM Dungeon | $240p/h

Tue April 7: Mark | Facebook CEO Official Wage: $1,586,852 p/h

Wed April 8: Kylych | Coal Miner Kyrgyzstan: $0.38p/h

Thur April 9: Shannon | Lab Rat: 15p/h

Thur April 9: Shannon | Lab Rat: 15p/h

Fri April 10: Neville | Indigenous Tour Guide / Artist | $25p/h

Fri April 10: Neville | Indigenous Tour Guide / Artist | $25p/h

  • Stick Together, Interview with Elena McMaster, 3CR National Community Radio, April 2015

You Can Hire This Performance Artist To Do Just About Anything, As Long As You Pay Her, Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post, Apr 7 2015

Gun for Hire, Pip Christmass, Broadsheet, Apr 2 2015

I’m selling myself as art and you pick the price, but what is work anyway?, Guardian, Mar 16 2015

Artist Casey Jenkins Is Back And Open For Business, Luke Malone, Vocativ, Mar 14 2015