Elisa Giardina Papa



Labor of Sleep
Whitney Museum Sunrise/Sunset Commission

Labor of Sleep, 2017. Excerpt: Day1/Sunrise.

Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? consists of a series of short video clips, one for sunrise and one for sunset, that plays out over nine days, and humorously references self-improvement apps. The work examines the idea that sleep has become the newest frontier for gathering behavioral and biological data in order to optimize sleeping patterns, thereby turning the time that our bodies use to rest and replenish into a form of labor devoted to data extraction. In this way, digital devices function as both a poison and its remedy, providing relief for the time they take away. The daily exercises and assessments suggested by Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? rely on a range of motifs that reveal the absurdities of technologically supported self-optimization. The video clips illustrate how we use technologies to regulate human sleeping habits within the rhythms of a wider system—one that includes humans and non-humans, extending from organic matter to digital devices themselves.

Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? is part of Sunrise/Sunset, a series of Internet art projects commissioned by the Whitney specifically for whitney.org to mark sunset and sunrise in New York City every day.


Technologies of Care

Technologies of Care, 2016. Excerpt: Worker 1, Researcher and Nail Wraps Designer.

Technologies of Care, 2016. Excerpt: Worker 7: Bot? Virtual Boyfriend/Girlfriend?

Technologies of Care, 2016. Excerpt: Worker 2, Social Media Fan.

Technologies of Care​ documents new ways in which service and affective labor are being outsourced via internet platforms, exploring topics such as empathy, precarity, and immaterial labor.

The video visualizes the invisible workforce of online caregivers. The workers interviewed in "Technologies of Care" ​include an ASMR artist, an online dating coach, a fetish video performer and fairytale author, a social media fan-for-hire, a nail wrap designer, and a customer service operator. Based in Brazil, Greece, the Philippines, Venezuela, and the United States, they work as anonymous freelancers, connected via third-party companies to customers around the globe. Through a variety of websites and apps, they provide clients with customized goods and experiences, erotic stimulation, companionship, and emotional support.

The stories collected in ​Technologies of Care include those of non-human caregivers as well. One of its seven episodes, ​Worker 7 - Bot? Virtual Boyfriend/Girlfriend​, documents the artist's three-month-long “affair” with an interactive chatbot.


Technologies of Care
For Rhizome Download Commission

Download Technologies of Care as a ZIP:

Rhizome The Download Commission: Technologies of Care, 2016.

"Empathy, digital labor, and new ways to serve and care on the network are the subjects explored in Elisa Giardina Papa’s Technologies of Care, commissioned by Rhizome for the Download. The Download is a series of Rhizome commissions that considers posted files, the act of downloading, and the user’s desktop as the space of exhibition.
Elisa Giardina Papa's Technologies of Care presents portraits of online workers on the front page ofrhizome.org in a 26MB ZIP file that explores gender, empathy, digital labor, and new dynamics of care and service on the network. Each portrait in the ZIP is its own folder, activated by an HTML file marked play_it." [Paul Soulellis]


eCBT Mood - excerpt

eCBT Mood/Sicily, 2016/. Video, 16:9 colour, 1:21 min.


need ideas!?!PLZ!!

need ideas!?!PLZ!!, 2011. Video, 16:9 colour, 5.28 min.

A collage of little-­seen online videos, the work draws attention to the masses of neglected videos and images that social media ecologies generate, and how contemporary networked society has fundamentally transformed social relations and creativity.
“Content is simply something to do; something modest offered up freely in exchange for a sense of accomplishment or relief. As one user puts it, ‘I don’t know what to do… so give me ideas. I’m trying to get more stuff done.’ Another whines, ‘I really need new vids, I have no time, ok?’ These pleas are funny and sad and strange. They register a palpable confusion of work and play, social anxiety expressed as a preoccupation with stats and productivity.” [Erica Levin]


When The Towel Drops Vol.1 Italy

with Radha May

Installation view, Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Providence, 2015.

When The Towel Drops is an ongoing project that investigates the censored representation of women, femininity, and sexuality in international cinema and on the Internet. The first iteration, When The Towel Drops Vol.1 I Italy, is based on the Italian cinema revision board archive, which preserves documents detailing the censorship commission’s decisions on national and foreign film along with the actual segments of censored footage. The performance and the 35mm film installation present and compile hundreds of censored scenes never before seen in public. Among them, a scene of childbirth from Ingmar Bergman’s Brink of Life, an ambiguous kiss between a mother and son from Pietro Germi’s Il Bell’Antonio, and a dialogue sequence in which gay sex is discussed in Pasolini’s Love Meetings. When The Towel Drops is a collaboration with Ugandan artist Bathsheba Okwenje and Indian artist Nupur Mathur.


Brush Stroke

Lucia** =):
How do I delete the grid behind a transparent background?
Re: to @Lucia** =):
It's like asking where the sun goes at night.
Re: to @Lucia** =):
You understand that it already represents nothing?
How do you represent nothing?
Wherever you see this transparency grid, you know you are looking at nothing.

Brush Stroke is a series of flat, minimalist sculptures printed with a white and grey grid on the front side. Seen and photographed from a specific point of view, it is perceived as a brush stroke that erases the space in which the work is installed, as it would do in an image editing software. Does this work exist as an object in space, or merely as a digital image? Does this distinction make any sense at all?


Archive Fever Vol.1

Archive Fever Vol.1, 2011. Real time browser performance. Excerpt.

Archive Fever (2011-) is an ongoing project that investigates data economy and data intimacy. Internet browsers automatically create a log of each website a user has visited in the previous two months. Since September 2011, I have downloaded and stored these data. Each time Archive Fever is exhibited, I retrieve the most recent volume and play it back. Link after link, the digital traces I have unintentionally left behind while browsing the Internet reveal a loose, unedited narrative of my work, play, and personal online interactions.



Rooms, 2011. Video, colour, 3.32 min.


Drawing from Life

Drawing from life, 2011. 120 digital drawings, printed on paper.


Byob Miami

Byob Miami, 2012.


Still Slime


Carrellino D'Oro