Erotic Labour is Essential Labour

07 Dec 21—20 Dec 21
Lena and James window text1
James Ashe, Lena Chen

Erotic Labour is Essential Labour is the next in a series of ten window text commissions by artists, writers, and designers created during the 2021 lockdowns. Ten writers who participated in Meadhbh McNutt's Should artists write? workshops were invited to create one page of text – a completely open brief. The texts range from dense, deeply personal accounts to bold slogans, each capturing the different thoughts and feelings of the author. The texts have been designed by different artists and designers and printed in a risograph edition by Derry Print Workshop.

The texts are visible from CCA's windows, each for two weeks, as well as visible online here and distributed across our region. All ten will be available later in the year as a bundle edition available to buy from CCA's shop as a fundraiser.

Erotic Labour is Essential Labour, 2021
Author: Lena Chen
Designer: James Ashe
Printer: Derry Print Workshop
Risograph edition of 500

About the author & designer:

Lena Chen is a Chinese American artist, writer, and sex worker examining the intersection of care, labour, and technology. Awarded "Best Emerging Talent” at B3 Biennial of the Moving Image (Frankfurt) and the Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Award, she has exhibited and performed at Transmediale (Berlin), Tempting Failure (London), Färgfabriken (Stockholm), Baltimore Museum of Art, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), among others. Based between Pittsburgh, USA and Berlin, Germany, she holds a B.A. in sociology from Harvard University and is currently a MFA candidate at the Carnegie Mellon School of Art.

As a social practice artist, she has produced participatory projects with various publics, including trauma survivors, sex workers, and abortion providers. She is the co-creator of OnlyBans, an interactive game that critically examines the policing of marginalized bodies and sexual labor by social media platforms.

James Ashe is a visual artist and illustrator based in Belfast. With an interest in politics, architecture, built environment – his work has always been in response to current world issues such as same sex marriage and identity, and also ranges from themes such as urbanism and punk. He works within illustration, typography, design, and print. James has had work commissioned by the Sunflower Public House Belfast, University of Atypical, Northern Ireland Screen and featured in CCA's exhibition Irish Modernisms in 2021; an edition of prints from the exhibition are available from CCA's online shop. | @jamesashestudio

See previous Window Texts in the series:

Quieter Coastal

Portrait of Y

Grey Observation: Jan 2021


Skin Loving Language

Some art things I explain in emojis


This project was made possible thanks to support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Stability & Renewal Programme for Organisations.

Erotic Labour is Essential Labour
Erotic Labour is Essential Labour
Erotic Labour is Essential Labour
Erotic Labour is Essential Labour