With the video work Lobbyists we wanted to continue portraying contemporary labour, and a possible example of immaterial labour, as well as portraying an activity that would represent the recent development of certain policies in Europe. We recorded lobbyists and activists performing under working conditions, exploring the maelstrom surrounding their activity in Brussels and Strasbourg. In preparation for the work we studied historical and contemporary sources constructing the figure of the lobbyist; interviewed and filmed a variety of people with links to lobbyist associations, NGOs and civilian ‘watchdog’ groups; and investigated different modes of documentation, news and music videos.
We commissioned British reporter and activist Tamasin Cave to write an article about the situation we were witnessing at the time. Following this, we collaborated with British actress Caroline Dalton and the Icelandic reggae group Hjálmar, who performed the article in such a way that spoken narration, singing and chanting were interwoven over a dub score, the soundtrack to the video. As such, the video questions different genres; there is an inner narration that runs throughout the work, unfolding stories are suggested rather than completed, lending the work its ironic, murky character of disorientation and disillusion.
Lobbyists received the Basis Prize (third prize) at the 2009 Prix de Rome, the Dutch award for contemporary art.