Manifesta 11, the latest edition of the roving European biennial, seeks to explore what makes its current host city, Zurich, tick: work. It’s a reductive idea that the curator, artist Christian Jankowski, has chosen for an exhibition titled What People Do for Money.
One assumes the curator knows that people everywhere work to financially survive. Still, the exhibition fetishizes the idea that artists and members of the art world might interact with pedestrian workers. In addition to a large group exhibition, thirty artists were paired with different professionals to shadow and get inspiration for what are labeled “joint ventures.” These projects are mainly spread throughout the city in their real-world locations. A floating fort on Lake Zurich projects a rotation of documentary-style films created from all these interactions. Most of them, anyway.