El valor de la ausencia: excusas para ausentarse de su centro laboral, 2009-2010

The Value of Absence: Excuses to Absent Oneself from One's Place of Work, 2009-2010
Media installation, Various dimensions

In Cuba, the lack of motivation in the socialist system of production leads to workers inventing excuses for not going to work, while tolerant management has turned this into a way of life. Adrian Melis has compiled and recorded the creative process involved in this tangle of excuses. The artist has gathered a large quantity of these pretexts by buying the recording rights of the telephone conversations in which workers call in sick. The price paid for these rights equals the reduction in salary caused by taking leave, a period which may last from one to thirty days. In other words, the artist matches what the workers would have been paid by going to work. In this way, he generates an unproductive workforce receiving the same salary the State would pay for a productive one. Melis paid for this unproductivity at the end of the period of sick leave.

Technical details

Original title:
El valor de la ausencia: excusas para ausentarse de su centro laboral
Registration number:
Melis, Adrian
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium
Object type:
Media installation
Wood, printed ink on paper and single channel video, colour, sound, 80 min
Various dimensions
Edition number:
Ed. 3/3
MACBA Collection. MACBA Consortium. Private long-term loan
© Adrian Melis
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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FONS ÀUDIO #41. Adrian Melis