BA Design Degree Show 2021: Lucy Gaston

This year’s graduating Design students will present their outcomes starting June 28th, under the title “My Friend, Oh! It’s Been So Long.” Until then, the blog gives you a peek at the work that will be showcased. Today, we find out more about the graduation project of Lucy Gaston:

“The catalyst of this project was an academic paper called Banana Time. Written in 1959 by Donald Roy and published in Human Organization, this essay details the informal interactions and pranks four workers used to fend off boredom. What marks these interactions as unusual is that they occur at the same times each day, in a ritualistic cycle. Without this cycle the workers cannot cope with the working day.

Like a piece of food stuck in my teeth, this paper bothered me, I couldn’t stop fiddling with it. I didn’t believe people really behaved like this and I wanted some proof or reality to sink my teeth into.

Banana time became a labour of not-quite-love, more like an obsession. Through my forensic dissection and intensive engagement with this academic work I tried to reach the ‘it’ factor, or weirdness that kept drawing me back in. I was at the point of no return, stuck in the inward velocity of Ike and Sammy’s exchanges in the Banana Time clicking room.

I picked it apart, reimagining, recreating and reciting until I came to my version of banana time; bananas preserved in resin blocks, frozen in time like the world described by the words engraved on them. Organic forms crushed and restricted, soft oozing matter resisting these constraints, like the body at work. An object difficult to reconcile with reality, like the relentless cycles in Banana Time.

To me Banana time is when you take a short break from work to complain about your partner’s snoring every morning at 9 am. Or drink a coffee every day at 11 am. Or eat lunch every day at 1 pm. Banana Time is a repetitive cycle of rest and play that makes the repetitive cycle of work bearable. Intended to be read at certain rest periods in the day, my six resin blocks containing 18 banana skins rest inside a wooden box, waiting to proclaim banana time.”