We is the distinction of I
Artist collective Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO) explores the possibilities of shared experience through group activities such travelling, eating, reading and physical exercise. At Offsite, they present Fitness For All, a fivepiece set of exercise equipment evoking campaigns throughout the Peoples Republic of China aimed at motivating society to pay more attention to health. In the early 2000s the government began to install exercise equipment in public parks throughout the country, and since then the machines have worked their way into the daily regimen of millions of people.
While outdoor public exercise equipment is common in China, relocated to Vancouver’s urban core, the work has adopts a new social and cultural context. One that allows the artists to examine whether collectivism is really a social need or just a management tool. In Canada, individualism is a fundamental value yet a new understanding of the need for the collective has emerged. Conversely, in China, where collectivism has been a core value throughout most of history, the last decade has indicated an increase in individual pursuits. Through their interactive public performances and happenings, PSFO tests where the desire of collective organization arises naturally from human nature or is an expression of ideology.
Fitness For All encourages audience participation. The work is both purely visual (as contemporary sculpture) as well as purpose built and customized to provide a public service. For PSFO, the fitness equipment is secondary to providing space and opportunity for collective gathering with friends, visitors and passersby, thereby advocating for a model of social organization that benefits the community as a whole.