Running in the Background consists of a consumer mobile phone housed within a display case, blending the language of retail spaces and that of a hospital or science laboratory. Under the heat-producing activity of the device, the environment within the cube becomes strained, activating the water vapour within the cube and generating condensation – or sweat. Running in the Background talks to the contemporary social space of labour that is phone dependent and significantly experienced online. Through anthropomorphising the electronic device with sweat, a conversation arises touching on empathy and suspicion as well as the role of technology in this social space.
Referencing both Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube, 1963–65, and Eva and Franco Mattes’ Biennale.py, 2001, the work plays on ideas of environmental control through natural or technological means.