Karen Spencer (UK): Bread-bed

During the time of Caesar, the Romans viewed bread as a political tool. In order to pacify the people and discourage revolt, bread was distributed freely to the poor at state-organized circuses. Yeah, what’s that line from Caesar? “What the people want is bread and circuses.”

For bread-bed nine laborers are hired and two hundred and twenty-five loaves of white-sliced bread are bought. Each laborer makes a bread-bed using twenty-five loaves. The rest of the labor consists of lying on the bed. Laborers are hired for half a day to “lay down on the job”, and to gain comfort from their “daily bread”.
The laborers are not asked to produce a product or to serve a purpose that can be reduced to an exchange value. The interest here is to place a value on the human being as a being; as something more than an efficient producer/consumer.

In the context of labor relations the bread-bed challenges the growing economic trend that devalues human labor and leaves people without meaningful employment as jobs becomes either automated (computers/machines/robots) or relocated (in “third world” markets where human labor is inexpensive).