Meet the multi-disciplinary artist behind We Eagerly Await Your Complete Submission

A person stands on stage holding a microphone with their face covered by a mask

Sweætshops is a multidisciplinary artist based in Aberdeen, and is winner of the BUZZCUT Emergent Artist Award - their work is described as "creating intense ritual and allegory out of the waste of 21st century capitalism," with their latest project, We Eagerly Await Your Complete Submission, being a recent recipient of Open Project Funding.

It explores the darker side of reality TV, the rhetoric of religious cults, atomisation, and ego death, developing from a public disruption piece and social experiment in 2018, and further inspired by turning 27 (the age synonymous with the 27 club myth in pop culture).

After reading about the high number of reality TV contestants that have committed suicide, it prompted them to consider the screening process for applicants, which led to attending X-Factor auditions in a "haunting" capacity, and posting an advert for an ambiguous and abstract reality show opportunity for which they went on to receive applications.

We asked them more about their intriguing project, which was a recent recipient of Open Project Funding.

"Within a week we received 33 video submissions in response to the advert from a wide range of demographics, which indicated that the prevalent reality TV narratives of exceptionalism, self-interest and instant gratification were not dependent on background.

This paradox of blind obedience out of self-interest towards something ultimately exploitative drew similarities with the rhetoric of religious cults.

In many instances the language used by cults and self-help gurus and the language used in reality TV was interchangeable; "I want to be up there", "I need something more" etc. Both tap into an innate desire for something greater than the everyday, the assurance that comes from the feeling of being 'chosen' and a metamorphosis myth which culminates in a 'true self'."

What is the aim of the project?

"All our work is about creating allegories for social undercurrents. The aim of We Eagerly Await Your Complete Submission is to subconsciously instil some insight into 'emptiness' and 'no self' by confronting the audience with a grotesque display of the illusory 'self'.

This is both in public interactions while 'street pastoring' and the 'on-stage' performance, further expressed in the sound and video of the piece - half of the 'devotees' are not even people, they're AI, while half are genuinely sincere applicant responses. There can be no true rejection of conformity or social change without a degree of psychic death, no real compassion without an acknowledgement of personal insignificance."

A person stands on stage holding a microphone with their face covered by orange material

Are there any other previews or work in progress events coming up soon?

"We have just completed our debut of We Eagerly Await Your Complete Submission at the CCA as part of //BUZZCUT// and will be expanding on it for Anatomy Arts who will be showcasing it at Summerhall in Edinburgh on 13th December, and we'll be releasing an instructional pamphlet with accompanying audio around the same time.

We're looking into touring the show about at the moment and hope to expose more people to it/I/you/we/x. We have also done a 3-part allegorical play as part of a 24 hour exhibition at Interview Room 11 Studios (an abandoned supermarket in Edinburgh)."

You can book tickets for We Eagerly Await Your Complete Submission on the Summerhall website:

Book tickets

You can follow Sweætshops® on Instagram and YouTube

Images: Tiu Makkonen at BUZZCUT

This article was published on 27 Nov 2019