Series of eight drawings; pencil and watercolour on paper; each 52 x 70cm.
The primary system of social classification used in the UK is the NS-SEC (the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification), which was developed by the Office for National Statistics in 2001. Essentially a measure of employment relations and conditions of occupations, the classification is designed to show the structure of socio-economic positions in modern society.
Babies Eating Lemons is a series of eight drawings based on videos of toddlers found online, each of which is made to correspond to a different position on the NS-SEC scale. Whilst sociologists acknowledge socio-economic class to be a powerful determinant of life chances and a strong predictor of health, educational and other outcomes, the “analysis” performed in this work is deliberately spurious. The babies in these anonymous videos have been arbitrarily assigned a social class, based on little more than the clothes they are wearing.
The eight NS-SEC classifications are as follows:
1. Higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations
2. Lower managerial, administrative and professional occupations
3. Intermediate occupations
4. Small employers and own account workers
5. Lower supervisory and technical occupations
6. Semi-routine occupations
7. Routine occupations
8. Never worked and long-term unemployed
The work was first shown at the group exhibition Fabric at Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham, Wales in 2014.