Business Of Practicing Law (Labor And Social Change)
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Clements: "But For" vs. Creativity thus marks the joint between self-management and self-exploitation, autonomy and heteronomy. The capacity of creativity to be easily internalized as a workplace norm renders it the form of governmentality that obtains specifically in the workplace, even as the entrepreneur can principally operate anywhere, most visibly in the cultural field and as a labor template for the no-longer-autonomous artist. Creativity thus functions as a springboard for capitalist populism, assuring every exploited worker and discontented artist that their interests are no different from those of capital.
These interests signally coincide in the performance of labor that is inventive, fulfilling, and that would be a joyful experience whether or not there was money involved. One of these would be the role of the very businesses he invites to support these projects—such as property developers—in the decay and depression his projects are intended to address. Eliding this enables him to uphold a donor-friendly message of inspirational community action and social capital-building through culture.
What is powerfully suggestive about his activities is that they so perfectly integrate the logic of culture-led regeneration while at the same time translating this logic into the terms of autonomous art, thereby neutralizing the critical perspectives that have developed around these processes. Empowerment thus redounds to the credit of injustice, showing that there is actually enough justice in the system to recognize the claims of the dispossessed How did they get that way? It doesn't matter , so the system must be ultimately good, open to change. In the case of Theaster Gates, it means that such emblems of structural violence as housing privatization, unemployment, and racialized domination turn into resources for a cultural project that exposes them to the light, only to push them into the background as irrelevant in the face of the real, positive change partially bankrolled by the market and non-profit entities responsible for those very same ills.
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This project, however, guards itself from charges of instrumentality or exploitation through its recourse to artistic speculation, that is, a parallel as well as an implicated practice of autonomous art that then renders the social a contingent aspect of its mythopoiesis. Another example is Tino Seghal. In his work, this tendency can be described as a kind of optical illusion that presents two dimensions at once, but which cannot be perceived simultaneously. Either you, as a viewer, agree to the social contract of the work—which involves focusing on the immediate, direct experience of orchestrated sociality in Seghal's case, or a processual and temporal theatre of community in Gates—or you try to understand the conditions of possibility of these performances, including working conditions, the performers' agency, power relations in this ensemble of social mimesis, and so forth.
Each perspective cancels out the other, rendering any critical approach off limits, or even redundant, because the distance demanded by critique breaks the social contract of frictionless exchange on which this work is predicated just like in the service industries that it emulates. Both sites—the community and the art institution—merge in a pragmatic and charismatic tableau of empowerment. A political space where people make things, invest narrative in those things, and sell those things. We can note how easy it is to fuse collaborative critique with the exploitation necessary for making and selling things.
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This is something we should definitely figure out how to disrupt. Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer occupied mainly with questions around art, labor, and the value-form. London, , and contributes to catalogues, edited collections and journals such as Mute, Afterall, Parkett and Texte zur Kunst. She is currently writing a book with Kerstin Stakemeier on the politics of autonomy and reproduction in art Hamburg: Textem, forthcoming. Click to start a discussion of the article above.
Adorno, Aesthetic Theory , trans. Martin Nicolaus London: Penguin, , , , — The footnote on p. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Although with ontological equality between humans and non-humans assumed, the questions of power that are framed through the category of colonialism are no longer possible. Gary S. The e-flux platform has been a salient vector in this milieu. The most it can do is prop up de-monetized or hyper-exploited sections of the population or regions, which can sometimes be a significant precursor to any social or political antagonism that then would have systemic implications.
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In last month's editorial for the February issue of e-flux journal , we proposed that the communication networks that now saturate our working and private lives have forced us to become cosmopolitan creatures. Our relations to place and time have been shredded to pieces, and we, as those proud pieces, circle the earth like satellites clustering in various locations simultaneously.
Aliens to our homes and neighborhoods, we develop terrible posture slouching over screens while simultaneously Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. It begins with an image we discover in a book. It does not belong to our imaginary.
What does it show—a weapon, a missile, a rocket for space exploration? Is it serious or just a fantasy? Did the Lebanese really dream of participating in the conquest of space? We ask our parents, our friends … No one