Playbour: On art and immaterial labour

18 Sep 2015

Event times

12 - 10 pm

Cost of entry

£3 on arrival

37A Clerkenwell Green

London, United Kingdom


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Our symposium would like to represent, a taster of what hopefully could become a continuing series of investigations and discussions into cultural, creative, intellectual or 'immaterial' labour. We would like to open up and broaden a critical approach to notions that both constitute art and cultural work as an activity as well as mapping its field of production.


Programme for the event.

Playbour: Work-Play. On art and immaterial labour.

at Karl Marx Memorial Library  and Das Kapital - Distillation,

Geddes Gallery, 26 Caledonian Road, N1 0RU


12.00- 12.10 Veronica Diesen: Introduction

12.10-12.30- Nicolas Vass: Crazy little thing called love – from precarity to solidarity

12.30 -12.45 Discussion

12.45-1 Break

1.00-1.30  Nicolas Vass Reconstructing Hasil

1.30 -1.45 Discussion

1.45 - 2.00 Break

2.00 - 2.30 Frans Jacobi The artist as surplus value. Some reflections on A.McCollums Surrogate Paintings and the value of artistic presence (presentation)

2.30 -2.45 Discussion

2.45- 3.00 Break

3.00 - 3.30 Frans Jacobi: Synsmaskinen: GOLD (meditation). An exercise in transmission of energy and value (performance)

3.30- 3.45 Break

3.45  Veronica Diesen. On nothingness, labour, capitalism, and its abstractions.

Moderator: Arne Rygg

 Geddes Gallery,

6 pm - 10 pm Dan Mihaltianu: Das Kapital - Distillation.



The 1960s and the 1970s saw a democratisation of higher education that led to the emergence of 'mass intellectualisation'. Education was not any longer meant to represent a privilege for the elite. With mass intellectualisation came the proletarianisation of higher education and culture in general that coincided with the gradual dismantling of the welfare state in Western countries and an increased focus on marketisation of the public society that includes the educational and cultural sector. One proposition may be that in late capitalist time where ideological demands impose a high degree of flexibility, risk-taking and insecurity unto the individual, the artist does not so much represent the vanguard of critical resistance but has rather turned into a conform figure of ideal capitalist behavior.Not only is it demanded that the cultural and creative fields and its practice is based upon a firm degree of invested, higher education but it is also expected that its participants compete, take risks and even make a fetish of the material and mental securities that inevitable follows. Now the allure of the obvious pleasures with a creative enterprise is perhaps easy to exploit. Though there may be said to be a difference between a market command of play and pleasure that further demands untold promotion and competitions among individuals. The material complexity of the field that is often driven by a combination of high skills, education and passion for ones profession is often being abstracted by markets exploitation, that may threaten to reduce its critical potential to a matter of relatively harmless, playful, entertainment.An implication of this is the way the arts and cultural sector targets an aspiring youth that can more easily accept and endure the often unpaid hardship of the field's practice.But how can one best resist the commodification of art, culture and education and the exploitation that derives from it?A vital point of departure could be critical thinking, research, discussions and collective action. How we define the field and how we fathom the role of its participants has an impact on the way we relate to it. Consequently, it can be crucial to research the cultural fields history and its current situation and look at the concrete impacts the socio-economic framework has on its productive practice.Only by resisting mythification, simplifications and attempts at naturalisations of the cultural fields productive conditions and by building a common ground, can we change the means of its potential futures.The symposium will address these and more issues but its participants will do so by looking beyond aesthetics and politics. The format is not standard as the participants will experiment with disruptive performative expressions as well as visuals and sound. As in any symposium, the engagement with the audience is vital and audience participation will be very much welcomed.

Veronica Diesen

Art form Toggle


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