ArtSourced: Call Center
Outsourcing is one of the pervasive new patterns in the growing global economy and foreign call centers are often how Americans interface with it. Moreover, it is often maligned for taking jobs away from American workers. For the people working in these jobs, however, it can mean the difference between staying home or leaving family and friends to work abroad. An estimated 8-11 million Filipinos work outside of the country, approximately 11% of the population. Workers abroad, called OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) or Global Filipinos, send billions of dollars back home, making the Philippines the fourth largest recipient of foreign remittances after India, China, and Mexico. Whereas the country's greatest commodity has been its OFWs, there are now domestic sectors with significant growth. Over the past ten years the call center industry has had tremendous growth, so much so that the government calls it the “Sunshine Industry.”
Taking the call center as its inspiration and working with independent curator Nadine Wasserman and Manila-based collective 98B COLLABoratory, ArtSourced: Call Center is a collaborative art project that brings together emerging and established artists. Filipino artists act as “creativity facilitators” and help callers with their creativity problems. ArtSourced: Call Center functions as an exhibition and performance space in which creative blocks and artistic difficulties are solved.
(Courtesy of Smack Mellon. Photo by Etienne Frossard)