The Idle Institute will be exhibiting The Itches: A Gym for Public Embarrassments at Xero, Kline & Coma .

  • Saturday 23 Feb 2019 — Sunday 17 Mar 2019.
  • Sat — Sun, from 12:00 till 18:00.

Private view will be held on Thu 21 Feb, 18:00 – 20:00.

Xero, Kline & Coma, 258 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ Londyn.

The Idle Institute presents The Itches: A Gym for Public Embarrassments [2018]. The work manoeuvres around five bespoke exercise machines, designed to perfect instances of minor public humiliation. The apparatus sits inside a grey institutional display, layering atmospheres of contemporary bureaus, design fairs, medical waiting rooms and gym spaces. Each has a set of instructions in the form of narrative manual—embedded in an online interface ( Through analysing the language and voices of customer service labyrinths, motivational talks, helplines and public transport alerts, the Idle Institute attempt to engage the seductive and dystopian narratives of self-optimisation and self-protection. Prior to the show, the machines were photographed in a manner mimicking hypersexualised gym advertisements. They were uploaded with hashtags such as #sisyphuswasjustworkingout and #adamconnect alongside standard fitness tags #gym #workout #push, attracting a following of gym goers and gurus worldwide.

Release text by Xero, Kline & Coma

See our most recent work, The Itches: A Gym for Public Embarrassments, at the RCA Show 2018, Royal College of Art, Hester Road/Howie Street, London SW11 3AN, from 23 June 2018 to 1 July 2018 | 12:00–18:00. Closed 29 June 2018.

Work displayed at the Red Mansion Art Prize Exhibition, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2018.

See our residency at Sink at or

For their residency on sink, the Idle Institute have selected five 3D models of animal artefacts, each selected because of their parasitic qualities. For the Institute, each model will become a pretext for a poetic prank call. They are considered as zoomorphic symbols from five narrative worlds—entered via online chats, email threads and phone conversations.The Idle Institute made their selection in a ‘magpie’ manner, partially concealing the institutional and historical context. The objects were approached as triggers with narrative potential, becoming dingsymbols, totems in the fictional world of a story. A Boccaccian falcon becomes a curled rat from the Minneapolis Institute of Modern Art, a small, purely decorative sculpture once used to hang a pocket from a Kimono. Now, this curled relic of practical use will be resurrected as a digital pest and will seek to irritate multiple pest control sites…

The theme of a parasite is an excuse to naively initiate difficult questions of political urgency through awkward online and phone conversations. The 3d models of museum objects will be visually altered in response to the advice of business support helplines, pest control companies, sex chatrooms, zoos and restaurants to whom the prank calls will be directed. Working with objects of digital matter, the Idle Institute will attempt to ask questions about layers of representation, the translation of the corporeal to the symbolic and of the symbolic to the virtual.

Release text at