Two Swedish artists are offering one lucky person “eternal employment” to do nothing as part of a public art project.

Wallace Ludel
Mar 12, 2019 3:50PM, via Euronews

Korsvägen in Gothenburg, where an unusual public art project by Jakob Senney and Simon Goldin will be staged. Photo by Albin Olsson, via Wikimedia Commons.

A project conceived by the Stockholm-based artists Jakob Senney and Simon Goldin—who go by Goldin+Senney—and funded by Public Art Agency Sweden, is offering “eternal employment” to one lucky Swede. The employee will clock in and out everyday at Gothenburg’s new Korsvägen train station; clocking in will turn on a fluorescent light, signaling that the employee is working; clocking out will turn it off. As the job description details, other than clocking in and out, “the position holds no duties or responsibilities” and, once clocked in, the employee is not required to stay at the station so long as he or she returns to clock out. The employee is considered to be “at work” wherever he or she goes.

The employee’s monthly salary will start at 21,600 kronor ($2,295) and will be subject to 3.2% annual increases for at least 120 years. The job will receive the same benefit package as any other public sector employee, including paid holiday leave and pension provision.

To clarify how “eternal employment” is made possible, the job description explains:

The endless duration of this employment is feasible because money pays better than work. As long as we live in a society where the return on capital is substantially higher than the average increase in wages, Eternal Employment is kept afloat. [...] Eternal Employment is realized through long-term strategic investment of the allocated production budget. To facilitate employment and capital management over time, a foundation is set up specifically for this purpose.

The job description goes on to further articulate the project’s ethos, stating:

Eternal Employment is proposing employment without labour. Work without duties, responsibilities or projected outcomes. [...] The employee may come to suffer from severe “boreout” (stress caused by understimulation), may invent his/her own projects or creative ventures, or may simply embrace a state of perpetual leisure.
As such, Eternal Employment not only offers a different understanding of work and the worker, but questions the very notions of growth, productivity and progress which are at the core of modernity. [...] What remains in an employment without productivity is time. In this sense we can understand the employee as a witness of time. Even an embodiment of time itself.

The Korsvägen train station in Gothenburg will open in 2026, marking the beginning of one employee’s career in public art.

Wallace Ludel