Common knowledge, an exhibition of photography and sculpture by Albuquerque-based artist Delaney Hoffman.
On display July through Sept, during all events or by appointment.
Opening reception: Fri, July 7, 6-8 pm.
NO NAME CINEMA
2013 Pinon St.
Santa Fe, NM
“Usually, we [assume] that all players know the structure of the strategic form, and know that their opponents know it, and now that their opponents know that they know, and so on ad infinitum. That is, the structure of the game is common knowledge.”
In the Digital Age, some aspects of Hard Work are becoming increasingly mysterious. What makes it go? What makes the thing? What things are forever? What holds value? How can we reckon with the Internet’s amorphous, immense potential? Is it too late, already?
The most insidious aspect of the entrancing and entrenched post-capitalist game is the illusion of infinite choice and therefore infinite possibility. The way to win the game is through hard work and cheating, though most of us don’t have the means to do the latter and so it makes more sense to start an eBay storefront or to try to go viral on TikTok. The economic game is not separated by much from the algorithmic game; they seem to have grown to be one and the same, a two-headed hydra of capital. This association seems to be fortified by the rapid rise and staggered descent of influencer marketing, the MLM dramatics of the last twenty years, and the entrepreneurial ethos that underpins snide jokes about Etsy sellers.
These works were made while considering the value of labor, data and the self. They are grounded in material references that I consider central to the realm of household crafting and monetized DIY culture, which is rooted in the affordable recreation of luxury aesthetics. They say that you can learn anything on YouTube, including how to look rich. On a fated trip to the craft store, I picked up a few packs of polymer clay on a whim. When I got home, I typed “polymer clay tutorial” into YouTube and watched – this was the beginning. Fed video after video, I read uncountable variations on the same title and watched dozens of women’s hands work, kneading and caning plastic while they explained how to mimic textures like marble or quartz or turquoise. The memetic exchange between plastic and stone has never seemed so seamless, and the increasingly fluid ontology of material is seemingly confirmed by the 300,000+ search results for “polymer clay earrings” on Etsy.
This slippery ubiquity of material echoes the visual vernacular of the enmeshed photographs that populate common knowledge. These consider methods or narrativizing capitalism; I am interested in interrogating the continued vitality of symbols that reference historic and continued class dynamics alongside the objects that we use to root ourselves delusions of power or wealth. Though we are constantly surrounded by products and scars of industry, it is easy to forget where they come from because those places are not beautiful, which is the primary thing that we value. I was not spared from this overarching cultural distance from manual labor in the two-story safety of my middle class home, but things have changed, and now there is no choice.
Delaney Hoffman (they/she) is an artist and writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Trained as a photographer, Hoffman’s practice seeks to synthesize image and object through sculptural interventions that utilize darkroom prints alongside materials that reference the relationship between gendered craft and Hustle Culture. This method of working is informed by an ongoing interest in the digital abstraction of labor and an ongoing distrust in digital actions taken (or neglected by) the state. Their background as an art worker is fundamental to their understanding of cultural production and accessibility, informing Delaney’s tongue-in-cheek use of “lowbrow,” popularly available materials that push back against conventional archival methods.