Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost is durational for the length of the show and occurs only in a group show. 3 Bangladesh garment workers were hired on Upwork.com, an online gig labor platform. The workers were paid their usual wage to live video call into computers in the gallery. Visitors were free to interact with the piece for how long they desired.

Workers and visitors can see, hear and talk to each other via video call. Workers were free to do or not do anything. In addition, workers earn a bonus depending on the visitor’s actions.

When a visitor sits down in front of a worker, the worker earns triple their usual wage or $0.04/min. During the sit, the video call is disabled, and the monitor displays a second (time) counter and current worker earnings. Every 15 seconds, the worker earns $0.01 and the counter is reset to zero.

When a visitor stands up, that worker stops earning and the video call is re-enabled. This repeats when the next visitor sits down, and workers accumulate in earnings. After the exhibit, each worker is paid their earnings.

This piece generates an opportunity cost worth $0.04/min for the rest of the artworks in the show. For every minute that a visitor views other works in the show, they could’ve sat down and contributed $0.04.

Pre-existing ATM and chairs from venue.
Monitor view when chair is occupied and unoccupied.
A cash only bar was present and open in venue.
Before the opening, an unmarked white board was placed on the ground in front of the ATM. This photo was taken at end of show.
2019.  Participatory Performance.
Site-Responsive, Durational for open hours of show.
a group exhibit, chairs, money, platforms, computers, workers, Upwork.com, participants
New Blood XIII  Links Hall. Chicago, USA. photos by Ji Yang.