PLAY HARD is an interactive archive of texts around the concepts of ‘work’ and ‘play’ in relation to social class in the UK, accessible only through an online slot machine style game.
It explores the themes of hard work as a signifier of respectability (and a marker to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor) and the framing of working class play and leisure activities as excess or frivolity, consistently dismissed as low culture and low status. The texts themselves range from historical labour campaigns to science fiction to poetry to opinion pieces from mainstream media outlets.
PLAY HARD has a DIY zine aesthetic with illustrations by comic artist Rob Jackson, engaging with ideas about professional vs amateur creative output and what proper art should look like (and who has the time and authority to make it). Similarly the slot machine format, more commonly associated with pubs and bookies than with a gallery space, invites the audience to become complicit in a challenge to the high culture status of art. Is this work or play? How valuable is your time, and is this a productive use of it?