Bronya Arciszewska is an artist based in Bedford. Arciszewska creates performative installations and costume for film, theatre and dance. She is drawn to the universal relatability of costume.
This work was inspired by Smallcreep's Day (1965), a surrealist novel by Peter Currell Brown (b.1936), satirising the dangers of industrialisation. Developing the novel’s themes, Arciszewska’s performance piece is a study on standardisation and our resulting lack of engagement with the surrounding world. It is heavily influenced by the concept of ‘piecework’, where repetitive acts have no greater meaning for the worker than their quota-filling function. In such circumstances, the body becomes indistinguishable from the machine.
The performance relays the journey of an insignificant worker, Smallcreep, who embarks upon a quest to discover the meaning of his contribution to the 'Great Machine'. Contained and controlled by his fiercely delineated role, his movements are at first restricted. As his journey develops, he unfolds seemingly endless layers of identical components, with the human form reduced to pattern pieces. Eventually a great structure is revealed, a meaningless abstract mass, through which Smallcreep comprehends the futility of his existence. Overwhelmed, he returns to his place in the assembly line.