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emBEDded Labour

Social Architecture at Cittadellarte, UNIDEE

Matthew Mazzotta, Samuele Piazza and Honi Ryan.  

Action Research

September 2014, Biella Italy. 

What does it mean to transport a bed, as a symbol of leisure, into a public space that seems to be imbued with work ethic? And what if, this leisure-related object becomes an object of labor by being publicly assembled? What if a moment of constructed leisure provokes a conversation on understanding labour paradigms differently? What if this site of intimacy becomes the place to begin a conversation on present labour conditions, starting from past narratives and offering a place to dream a different future? 

Biella’s industrial past is a strong presence in the city landscape. The buildings of former factories and their chimneys speak about a community developed around labor. Labor and industrial development was what shaped the city the way we can see it now, and one of the underpinning elements to the community. It seems like the social fabric of the city is interwoven with the wool it produces. It is thanks to its factories that this region was historically one of the most wealthy and advanced in civil rights, but it is also the reason why, facing contemporary labor crisis, it has to face a challenging transformation.

We, the artists involved, have all woken in beds in a dismissed factory for the past week. This simple image evokes reflections on how labour subsumption has affected leisure, and how the two aspects are intertwined. One cannot exist without the other, but its not that easy to separate the two.

We ask people to tell their story…

AAAAA Offer Free Time


   to talk about work

EmBEDded Labor is an action organized by 3 socially engaged artists at Cittadellarte.


We wonder what the relationship between citizens and work is in a town like Biella, where the work connected with local factories has had a fundamental impact on the social structure, how this relationship has changed, and what the hopes and fears for the future are. 


If you are interested in sharing your experiences, you can sit on our bed and tell us your story. 

*The comments below are not specifically attributed to the particular people pictured in the images. 

“You have to invent your work, or you need help from the outside. Maybe we should go back to the old community model.”
“If you invest 12000 euros a year in your education, you expect to find a job.”
“We don’t have anything left, but we don’t have debts either.”
“We need a law that allows everyone to be paid... do you like that idea?”
“My sister worked a lot in order to find work.”
“I worked for 36 years here, but my son, in the last 7 years has only worked for 2 months, then another 3 months, then the last 6 months. And that’s all.”
"I work in my free time"

“Have you ever worked?”


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