Techniques of Labor Struggles in the Field of Art
This session involves the participants who participated in the activist workshop session and takes the form of a public seminar with the aim to discuss the particular problems related to the conditions of labor in the field of art and the techniques of art-related activism.
Participants: Gigi Argyropoulou (writer and activist, Athens); Marsha Bradfield (artist and researcher, London); Claudia Bernardi (researcher, and activist, ESC atelier, Rome); Paolo Do (researcher, and activist, ESC atelier, Rome); Carl Martin Faurby (curator, writer Danish Art Union (UKK), Copenhagen); Kasia Górna (artist, initiator, Citizens’ Forum of Contemporary Art / OFSW, Warsaw); Héctor Huerga (writer and activist from @15MBcn_int, Barcelona); Vladan Jeremić (artist, curator, and co-editor Art Leaks, Belgrade); pantxo ramas (activist and researcher, Barcelona); Igor Stokfiszewski (writer and activist, Krytyka Polityczna, Warsaw); Airi Triisberg (arts worker and activist, Tallinn/Leipzig). Moderated by Joanna Figiel (researcher and activist, member of Free/Slow University of Warsaw, Warsaw/London).
Keynote by Isabell Lorey (political theorist, Berlin), followed by a conversation moderated by Simon Sheikh (curator, writer, and FORMER WEST editor, Berlin/London).
Autonomy and Precarization. (Neo)Liberal Entanglements of Labor and Care
The former western idea of the autonomous individual is a basic pillar of liberal-capitalist democracies and its concept of free labour. In this deeply racialized, gendered, and heterosexualized entanglement, the needs of protection and care are warded off, devalued, domesticated, feminizised. It is a logic, that in spite of its modifications, we continue to face today. When we think of current forms of precarization this has to be the background to understanding the politico-economic crisis we are now experiencing. On a multi-dimensional level, the regime of precarization constitutes the different entanglements of labor, independency, and care in capitalism and their function within governmentality. When subjectification has become capitalizable, autonomy turned into an instrument of government, and emancipation is trapped in neoliberal ideas of health, the challenge today is not just to invent new forms of organization and new strategies of resistance. More than that, we have to invent a fundamentally new way of how our living together can be organized and institutionalized. That is, how could a living together look like, based on a commonly shared precariousness, on relationality, and on care rights? It would, imagined this way, be an exodus out of the nation state, out of citizenship as we know it, and out of “immigration” as well.
Keynote by Brian Holmes (cultural critic and political activist, Chicago), followed by a conversation moderated by Simon Sheikh (curator, writer, and FORMER WEST editor, Berlin/London).
Live Your Models: Self-orientation and urban form in the next “spirit of capitalism”
Every forty years or so, capitalist society undergoes a decisive metamorphosis. After those in the 1940s and the 1970s, it appears to be once again time for such a disorienting shift in our most basic coordinates, how then to move through the present crisis? How to face the triple spectre of economic decline, geopolitical conflict, and climate chaos? How to set a course for the unknown future? This talk is about self-orientation within changing urban forms. Drawing on the concrete experience of race, class, and real-estate in the Chicago megalopolis, Brian Holmes analyzes the possibilities and dangers of the next phase or so-called “spirit” of global capitalism.
Division of Labor and Class (Re)Composition in the Arts
Taking the Free/Slow University of Warsaw’s report, The Art Factory (2014), as a case study, this panel focuses on the notion of labor and distribution within the artworld from a number of perspectives, such as the organization of labor, and the politics of art and work. Looking at notions of affective and invisible labor—drawing upon the lessons of feminism, and also taking into consideration the structuring device of precarity itself, and its historical role within the arts—this session considers if these features provide a “political economy of the former West,” and following this, show how the ways of production and division of labor within the artworld can be said to be indicative of the proposed “former-ness” of the West and its institutions.
Panelists: Free/Slow University of Warsaw (Warsaw); Corina L. Apostol (art historian, curator and artist, Bucharest/New York); Angela Dimitrakaki (writer and lecturer, Edinburgh/Athens); and Ewa Majewska (philosopher, Berlin/Warsaw). Moderated by Kuba Szreder (curator, writer, and an initiator of Free/Slow University of Warsaw, Warsaw/London).
Organization of Labor from the Global Perspective. Illusions of the Model of Catch-up Modernization
During this session, the discussion of political economy of creative labor and precarity is situated within the wider mechanisms of global and post-colonial class (re)composition. Departing with what the “post-Fordist” condition entails for Poland and other countries of the “semi-peripheries”—with their reliance on foreign investment and industrial labor, and the continued positioning of Poland as a production-based economy rather than a creative economy—the session investigates the illusion of catch-up modernization as an economic, political, and cultural project.
Panelists: Sami Khatib (writer and lecturer, Berlin); Małgorzata Maciejewska (researcher and activist, Wrocław); Sandro Mezzadra (political philosopher, Bologna); and Gerald Raunig (philosopher, Zurich). Moderated by Boris Buden (writer, cultural critic, translator, and FORMER WEST editor, Berlin).
The Terror of Total Dasein
Hito Steyerl (film maker, artist, and writer, Berlin). Followed with a response by Simon Sheikh (curator, writer, and FORMER WEST editor, Berlin/London).