Everywhere within (and outside) the art field issues are raised concerning work and labour. As we tend to do more and more for less and less we risk corroding our own practices and bodies. How to create a more transparent and constructive dialogue about the conditions we do (not) work in?
First invited by Veem, I proposed with AFTERHOURS a performative approach for a cohesive working group, shifting between the roles of workers, thinkers, participants, audience members and the figure of the dilettante.
Each session uses its location as a constant contextual backdrop for discussion and experimentation. The group discusses suggested bibliography and partakes in performative exercises sparked by those discussions.
The starting question: Are we working now? examines questions common not only to the worlds of theatre, performance and visual arts, but also to all the bodies thrown into today’s knowledge economy: “A society in which intention and focus are on top and intensity and wastefulness are at the bottom (…) we can describe this development in terms of a larger diagnosis of the transition, from a society of discipline to one of control.” ( D. Diederichsen, 2011)
The group addresses matters like the refusal to work, the body as a tool for discourse, and the “division” of the contemporary worker in order to navigate between the desire for art’s autonomy and the vertigo of being subsumed into the entrepreneurial machinery.
The program changes with every edition, here is an overview of the program at Veem:
SESSION 1: WORK!
(work is never over)
Diedrich Diederichsen, People of Intensity, People of Power: The Nietzsche Economy
Hito Steyerl, Art as Occupation
SESSION 2: PLAY!
(afterhours and leisure)
Anton Vidokle, Art Without Work?
Liam Gillick, The Good of Work
SESSION 3: SWEAT!
Aimar Pérez-Gallí, Sweating the discourse.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Manifesto for Maintenance Art
SESSION 4: SLEEP!
(laziness and the refusal of work)
Bob Black, The Abolition of Work
Sven Lu?tticken, Liberation through Laziness. Some chrono-political remarks
SESSION 5: REPEAT!
(rehearsal, skilling, de-skilling)
Boris Groys, The Loneliness of the Project (from Going Public)
Franco Berardi, The Precarious Soul (from The Soul at Work. From Alienation to Autonomy)