Brendan Fernandes The Master and Form, 2018, design : Norman Kelley, dancers : Satoru Iwasaki, Yuha Kamoto, Andrea de León Rivera, Antonio Mannino & Leah Upchurch.
Photo : Brendan Meara, courtesy of the artist & Graham Foundation, Chicago

Watching someone clean and polish a posh hotel room is a curiously uncomfortable act. The detailed repetitive steps that constitute the act of making a bed, wiping a counter, or cleaning a toilet — choreographies in themselves — are filled with intent, rhythm, and texture. Often performed by immigrant/migrant workers, these tasks carry with them particular racial and socio-economic realities. A hotel’s housekeeping staff, and the work they execute daily for often unfair wages and no workers benefits, are made to be invisible or at least as unobtrusive as possible. Nevertheless, this “behind the scenes” labour is the driving force behind the hospitality industry.

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This article also appears in the issue 94 - Labour

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