The Beneficiary’s Office

by Robyn on October 16, 2010

Tao Wells: Artist, provocateur, bludger.

Artist and provocateur Tao Wells is causing a mighty ruckus with his new art installation project, The Beneficiary’s Office.

As part of the Letting Space programme – which pairs artists with unused commercial spaces – Wells has established a corporate office for the Wells Group, a PR company which argues that the unemployed are more environmentally friendly. A lower income = a smaller carbon footprint.

But things start to get tricky because The Beneficiary’s Office is partially funded by – gasp! – taxpayer dollars in the form of a Creative New Zealand grant. Wells has already had his dole cut off, a reminder that, babies, you do not mess with Work & Income, you mess around them.

And, as to be expected, there’s a truckload of outrage over at Kiwiblog and at Stuff, with people who cannot believe that their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are funding a dole bludger to artistically promote being on the dole. And worst of all – it’s not even proper art.

Well, whatever your feelings on the subject, the Beneficiary’s Office is located on level three of 50 Manners Street and opens for two weeks from this Monday, 18 October.

UPDATE: The DomPost has an interesting follow-up story. On the subject of employment, Mr Wells reckons he’d be good at Paul Henry’s old job:

I’m outspoken, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, not politically correct – and if all those people thought that that was important about Paul Henry, then they should feel the same way about me. And I am unemployed.

The article also has a nice collection of reader comments, running from the supportive to the outraged.

Roger Boyce October 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Fucking brilliant!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely love it.

JW October 16, 2010 at 10:56 pm

This is fucking gay

noizyboy October 17, 2010 at 8:31 am

The number of comments (and offline discussion) this has resulted in would probably make it one of the more successful art projects of the year so far. Nice work (or lack, thereof, as the case may be).

Andrew October 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm

This is great. The unemployed do have a smaller environmental footprint.

The dead more so.

And so the logical conclusion follows….

Seamonkey Madness October 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

This guy is duly awarded my inaugral ‘Most Deserved to Get a Punch in Their Face’ award.

What an oxygen thief…

Twatcock October 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I totally agree, Seamonkey. Wait: you did mean “Andrew”, right?

Tony October 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Just heard the dude talking on National Radio…good on you Tao!
The “real” media suck…it is all about selling newspapers and not about the actual story.

Critics…find out the real story before you blow your opinions out your arses…wait…there’s no one out there telling real stories any more…sorry…

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