On Symptoms of Cultural Industry

Cities around the world function today in the shadow of industrial infrastructure that originally contributed to their very economic existence. The landscapes of former manufacturing regions reveal the material and social residue of neoliberal trade policies and globalization. The conditions are, in part, the result of transitions from manufacturing goods to manufacturing culture and knowledge. While circumstances have evolved slowly and differently in cities over the course of the past five decades, they have accelerated with particular intensity in recent years.

On Symptoms of Cultural Industry considers these circumstances to investigate the role of artistic and cultural production in relation to the economic, social and physical strata of North Adams, Massachusetts. The exhibition is comprehensively performance, video, installation and photography produced by Bureau for Open Culture. The content of the work is procured from original research and interviews with individuals who worked in the Sprague Electric Company, now the site of MASS MoCA. This knowledge is juxtaposed with a consideration of the kind of production and labor associated with experience economies upon which North Adams and countless other cities rely.

Flickr photostream MASS MoCA venue

Flickr photostream Open Engagement venue

James Voorhies with Timothy Nazzaro, Nate Padavick, Rachel Sherk, Cassandra Troyan


James Voorhies


MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
July 17—31, 2011

Open Engagement, Portland, OR
May 11—15, 2011

Made possible with a grant from Massachusetts Cultural Council and support from Open Engagement/Portland State University and MASS MoCA