<meta name="google-site-verification" content="2-LhGfMsjX0siLEqe37oq-th1seJ40rJdETkFj4zhnA" /> Liz Magic Laser / In Real Life_

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  1. In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, trailer for 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. 

  2. In Real Life (2019) is an immersive reality show installation that follows the lives of five gig-workers from around the world who rely on work they find through online platforms such as PeoplePerHour, Upwork and Fiverr. From a telecom voice artist in Hong Kong to a whiteboard animator in Nigeria, the cast members have been hired to produce the show. Each “episode” follows their journeys as they take part in a transformational development program. Laser directs the cast members through a series of challenges with help from a tech-savvy life coach and a psychic advisor, who also work in the online gig economy.

    Predominantly filmed via webcams and mobile phones, these reality stars are directed to document their struggles in order to establish a work-life balance. Each has been tasked with a “30-Day Biohack Challenge” that employs wellness tracking apps and biohacking devices intended to optimize their productivity and health. These “on demand” workers face daunting and sometimes farcical challenges in their daily lives. In Real Life dramatizes five workers’ endeavors to manage their own minds and bodies as the very nature of work changes around them.

    In Real Life questions the fantasy of becoming your own boss that’s used to draw gig workers to online platforms. This ideology of empowerment through individual choice can be traced back to utopian ideals of the early internet. In the name of freedom of choice, freelance workers are pressured to assume all risk with little to no security or benefits. Performance metrics demand constant availability, making the laptop lifestyle far more demanding than it seems. On the flip side, freelance gig platforms have enabled young people in developing countries to pursue higher incomes in creative fields.

    The work is designed in the round as an immersive five channel installation. Visitors enter the space and can see five faces on screens encircling them. Each screen is dedicated to one character, and the “episodes” play consecutively around the circle. While each episode plays, the other contestants remain on screen endlessly working at their computers, as seen through their webcam. Their constant presence conjures a virtual “WeWork” space surrounding the viewer. Ambient sounds of typing, fidgeting and phone calls are heard as dogs and children infiltrate the scene of each worker’s home office. This equilibrium is interrupted by punctuating moments when all five channels suddenly sync and a voiceover addresses the viewer. At these intervals, the circular design takes on the feeling of a gameshow, with the viewer as a proxy contestant at center stage.

  3. In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

    In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

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      In Real Life, Liz Magic Laser, 2019, 5-channel HD video installation, 90 minutes; custom seating (dimensions variable). Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool, UK. Photo: Rob Battersby.

  4. Credits:
    Featuring: Alabi Adebayo Akintunde (nollygfx on Upwork), Zahid Iqbal (thelancersinc on Fiverr), Cardy O'Donnell (PeoplePerHour), Nikki (PeoplePerHour), Kiki Wong (K1wngg on Fiverr), Count Marco (Fiverr and PsychicMix), Louise Papadopoullos (Mind Body Design).  Video Producer: David E. Guinan; Edited by: Laura Geisswiller; Trailer Editor / Assistant Editor: Jonathan Turton; Producer: Charlotte Horn; Written by: Liz Magic Laser, Cardy O'Donnell, Vanessa Thill; Whiteboard Animator: Alabi Adebayo Akintunde; Graphic Design: Zahid Iqbal; Voiceover Artist: Kiki Wong; Social Media Content Creator: Nikki; Researcher: Vanessa Thill; Research Assistant: Penelope Pardo; Motion Graphics: Patrick Bate, Frostmotion, Graphicsplayer, David Guinan, Yoshi Sodeoka, Jonathan Turton; 3D Animation: David Guinan; Sound Designer and Sound Re-recording mixer: Chris Liang; Technical Advisor: Mark Murphy; Additional Music by: Chris Liang and Sonnymusic1 (on Fiverr); Additional Animations by: Yoshi Sodeoka; Additional filming by: Carl Davies and Maria Ruban. Special Thanks to Maneesh Sethi of Pavlok.

    Commissioned by FACT as part of The Future World of Work, a project commissioned by Culture Liverpool as part of the Liverpool 2018 programme. Supported by the U.S. Embassy London. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council. Courtesy of the artist, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam. Installation photographs by Rob Battersby.