Service World

Katrin Lock & Tim Brotherton
June 11th - 14th, 2007


The project “Service World” by Katrin Lock (born in Germany, based in London, UK) is part of a larger study on the representation of wealth in different cultures. In collaboration with the photographer Tim Brotherton, the study looks into a specific everyday practice – commercial carwash – through a photo series about the complex social environments of carwashes and their implications.  Everyday practices are symbolically charged and often part of a bigger, cultural global framework of references. These are subject to a series of photographs. Photography, in this case, is used as an artistic medium as well as one of documentation assuming visual legibility through which ethnological particularities and similarities become evident. This artistic approach relates to the idea of the series and sequence, famously explored in the work of Hilla and Bernd Becher.

“Service World” is partly inspired through observations obtained during Katrin Lock’s one-year residency at Delfina Studio Trust London (in cooperation with the Whitechapel Gallery and the Berlin Senate, 2004/2005). In a neighboring street, a disused petrol station was changed into a hand carwash by a group of Polish people. Overnight a hand-painted sign, buckets, and sponges appeared. An English flag was installed over the entrance – and the first cars were being washed. Almost without resources, this group of workers found a niche – they made use of an idle location in the center of the metropolis London and changed it in a short period into an efficient workplace.

In a study, this photo series explores the state of affairs as described above and asks questions about wealth, everyday practices and working conditions. Is, for example, the impact of globalization visible in this specific everyday practice? The series takes place at three culturally differing places and examines its similarities and differences. The study started by looking into carwash places in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo), Berlin and London and will continue with trips to Belgrade and Damascus. The project Service World was exhibited at Brandenburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam (2006).

Katrin Lock (32) studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Schizorama, National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow, Ortsbegehung 10, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and Göttinger Kunstverein, Berlin (2004); Der Tod und das Mädchen, Fortescue Avenue London, As if by proxy, Redux, London (2005), Non-Stop Kunstverein Wolfsburg (2005). She has also exhibited in solo exhibitions at K&S Gallery, Berlin (2002) Gallery FHS, Hamburg (2002), Haus Schwarzenberg, Berlin (2003). Her videos have been shown in Tel Aviv, at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Caen and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London among others. Her radio features on Mothers in pop music and Reggae in Germany were broadcasted on Zündfunk (Bayrischer Rundfunk) in 1999. Projects included writing about weapons and music for the BE magazine (published by the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin), articles for the German music magazines Spex and Groove and the publication of visual work in the weekly DIE ZEIT newspaper. An essay on emancipatory aspects of Hip Hop music in Senegal was published in 2005 in the book Resounding International Relations: On Music, Culture and Politics (New York/London Palgrave). She also realized a project for the UN conference On Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (2001) in New York. She presented her work at conferences on Small Arms issues at the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (2002) and the University of Leipzig (2002). A feature on her work was presented on the Arte television in 2002. She participates in the Ph.D. program at the Metropolitan University of Leeds.