The Working Dead is a digital painting series centred on the idea of a capitalist industry. It asks the question, “What compels people to work for others?” The idea for this project is centred on the Spinoza & Marx thought on the pursuit of desire through the exploitation of capitalism.1 Their theory underlines how workers grow accustomed to the monotonous servitude of everyday life, functioning as cogs in the industrial machine. In this series, zombies coexisting with humans are depicted performing jobs that require minimal skill or experience. However, unlike humans, zombies are slow-moving, lack heartbeat or vital signs, possess decaying and discoloured skin and eyes, and most importantly, have no free will. This idea of the working dead dates back to Haitian tradition, where a person is revived by the act of necromancy from a bokor (a sorcerer or witch) and then remains under the control of the bokor as a personal slave, and as a subordinate, must perform the bokor’s bidding for all of eternity.2 Utilizing the aesthetics and concepts found in graphic novels and popular culture, the paintings depict the “undead” working as slaves to these desires under a system that capitalist industry depends upon.
1 Lordon, Frédéric.“Willing Slaves of Capital” Verso Books, 2014 Kline, Nathan. “Zombification Process”.
2Nathan S. Kline’s Zombi in Haiti. https://sites.duke.edu/ginalisgh323/zombification-process/