Worker Cage Document Reliefs

Fine Arts, Sydney is currently open with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. The exhibition Worker Cage Document Reliefs can also be viewed online in full here.

A patent granted to the cloud computing, e-commerce and artificial intelligence company in 2017 that was highlighted in a project by artificial intelligence ethics researchers in 2019 ( has become a motif in recent works by Simon Denny. This patent is for a ‘system and method for transporting personnel within an active workspace’, and describes a device that is essentially a cage to contain a human worker within a highly automated workplace environment. It is a stark vision of the changing relationships between humans and machines in a data-fuelled economy, speaking of the interconnectedness of a globalised world, entangled supply chains, and the interactions of objects and bodies. The image of the ‘worker’s cage’ has other resonances in a post-COVID-19 world, where interconnected single cells for remote work have been increasingly normalised and labour disruptions have accelerated.

For these new works, Denny has modelled a description of the device subject to the patent. To actualise the patent’s key illustration in three-dimensional space, he has employed the assistance of a rapid-prototyping tool which was designed to produce small 3D prints by stacking, cutting, and gluing sheets of paper in multiple layers. This rapid-prototyping tool was designed in the last decade, and was found to be commercially unviable due to its extremely time consuming and labour-intensive process. Using this tool, Denny has created paper stacks of the patent documents that describe the ‘worker’s cage’ system, into which a 3D model of the device has been embedded and carved out by the artist’s hand.

1 Jul - 8 Aug

Fine Arts, Sydney

20-22 Bayswater Road, Potts Point NSW 2011