Value/Labor/Arts: The Manifestos | Art Practical

On April 19, 2014, The Arts Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley staged a day-long Practicum entitled Valuing Labor in the Arts. In addition to the workshop prompts and featured essays in this issue of Art Practical, we have included here a selection (and a reminder) of some recent and some not-so-very-old manifestos of artists who found themselves asking how they wanted to be valued and wondering whether the available value systems were up to the task. Some worried about authorship and ownership, some about invisibility, some about whether an artists’ union could combat a highly individuating art market that kept artists from working with each other.

Value/Labor/Arts: The Manifestos | Art Practical

On April 19, 2014, The Arts Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley staged a day-long Practicum entitled Valuing Labor in the Arts. In addition to the workshop prompts and featured essays in this issue of Art Practical, we have included here a selection (and a reminder) of some recent and some not-so-very-old manifestos of artists who found themselves asking how they wanted to be valued and wondering whether the available value systems were up to the task. Some worried about authorship and ownership, some about invisibility, some about whether an artists’ union could combat a highly individuating art market that kept artists from working with each other.

kchayka
jahsonic:

Starting in 1959, French artist Yves Klein sold empty space for gold. The customer would receive a cheque certifying the purchase of a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility.
The cheque above was bought by Jacques Kugel December 7, 1959 [1].
It reads: “Reçu Vingt Grammes d’Or Fin contre une Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle”
In English: “Received Twenty Grams of Gold Leaf against a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility.”
The current price of 20 grams of gold is $835.59.
If the buyer wished, the purchase could be completed in an elaborate ritual in which the buyer would burn the cheque, and Yves Klein would throw half of the gold into the Seine.
In this photo[2], we can see how Yves Klein (with Dino Buzzati to the right as witness) is engaged in the ritual transfer of immateriality on January 26, 1962.
I am reminded of selling air, dissipation, excess, Georges Bataille’s general economy, sumptuary law, conspicuous consumption, the destruction of money and K Foundation Burn a Million Quid.

<3 Yves

jahsonic:

Starting in 1959, French artist Yves Klein sold empty space for gold. The customer would receive a cheque certifying the purchase of a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility.

The cheque above was bought by Jacques Kugel December 7, 1959 [1].

It reads: “Reçu Vingt Grammes d’Or Fin contre une Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle”

In English: “Received Twenty Grams of Gold Leaf against a Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility.”

The current price of 20 grams of gold is $835.59.

If the buyer wished, the purchase could be completed in an elaborate ritual in which the buyer would burn the cheque, and Yves Klein would throw half of the gold into the Seine.

In this photo[2], we can see how Yves Klein (with Dino Buzzati to the right as witness) is engaged in the ritual transfer of immateriality on January 26, 1962.

I am reminded of selling airdissipationexcess, Georges Bataille’s general economysumptuary lawconspicuous consumption, the destruction of money and K Foundation Burn a Million Quid.

<3 Yves

christopherschreck
christopherschreck:

click HERE for a full pdf of Jenny Holzer’s Truisms

These are a great example of how Conceptual Art&#8217;s transformation of artistic labour from craft production to the management of units of information established the ground for the extraction of value from sociality via network technologies. Holzer&#8217;s text works are twitter poetry avant la lettre.
Also, they are enduringly great. Do they not perfectly exemplify the T.S. Eliot quote in the post right before this? "Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality."

christopherschreck:

click HERE for a full pdf of Jenny Holzer’s Truisms

These are a great example of how Conceptual Art’s transformation of artistic labour from craft production to the management of units of information established the ground for the extraction of value from sociality via network technologies. Holzer’s text works are twitter poetry avant la lettre.

Also, they are enduringly great. Do they not perfectly exemplify the T.S. Eliot quote in the post right before this? "Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality."

The struggle with the limits of what’s “inside” — the struggle with the limits of personality — has long been the source of the best art. We tend to characterize art as “self-expression,” but that’s really more a description of bad art. The immature artist, as Eliot wrote, is constantly giving in to the urge to vent what’s inside, whereas the mature artist seeks to escape that urge.

The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. … The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious. Both errors tend to make him “personal.” Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

Social media turns us all into bad poets.

I should add that the context of this post is what I take to be kind of an argument-at-a-distance between Rob Horning (whom this post quotes) and Brian Droitcour over where the self lies within a life mediated by social networks.

Horning sees the self being split into the “post-authentic” (i.e. the viral circulation of self-exposure) and a “negative theology” of the authentic (that which cannot be be formatted for sharing within networks), with both models feeding off each other for support.

Droitcour, by contrast, advocates for art “on the far side of privacy.” He highlights the dominance of the memoir genre as the disclosure of the "real" person. For him, maintaining an idea of a “private self” (i.e. a negative theology) only works to more efficiently format and tailor the production of “post-authentic” disclosures. Which is to say he seems to agree on Horning’s model, but he places his value emphasis differently. It would be better, in his opinion, to give up on privacy altogether and to disclose messily, without formatting, to embrace the gross, to give up on the “smart” curating (and subsequent consumption) of the self. To be a “blabbermoth” instead of a “brand”. In other words, he’s in favour of the “bad poetry” described above. The worse, the better!

Make sure the people who capture r is: everybody. If the stream of wealth flows to everyone, rather than Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, then the pressure’s off g to keep pace with r. If r is shared democratically, we don’t have to keep extracting natural resources and conquering territories and desperately trying to grow g, just so everyone is taken care of. We can just let r exceed g and focus on more meaningful things than sales (which GDP, i.e. “growth,” reflects) – things like availing ourselves of our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

One sign of strain in it as a concept is the frequent addition of modifiers. Periodization has become internal to the concept rather than external. And so we have: neoliberal capitalism, postfordist capitalism, communicative capitalism, biopolitical capitalism, cognitive capitalism, semio-capitalism, not to mention the persistence of the charmingly named ‘late’ capitalism. But is there not a certain failure of imagination in merely adding a qualifier to return strange new observable features of the social formation to the familiar ground of ‘capitalism’? This seems to me to run the risk of not explaining but explaining away the object of both critique and analysis.

failedprojects
A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they’ve recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it’s because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.
The recuperation of the artistic critique by capitalism did not bring about a transfer to the social critique, which, as we have seen, was itself in crisis. A majority of intellectuals made as if it was nothing, and continued to display the hallmarks (notably sartorial) of an opposition to the business world and enterprise, and to regard as transgressive moral and aesthetic positions that were now incorporated into commodity goods, and offered without restrictions to the public at large. The kind of disquiet that this more or less conscious bad faith was bound to provoke found an outlet in the critique of the media and mediatization as the derealization and falsification of a world where they remained the exclusive guardians of authenticity. Among a minority it led to the adoption of the only course still available: public silence, aristocratic withdrawal, individual resistance, and an eschatological anticipation of the implosion of capitalism (in the manner of communism) or the collapse of modernity upon itself. In this case, too, it was not unrealistic to diagnose the end of critique.

Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott (Verso, 2005; first pub. Gallimard, 1999), p. 327.

A very pithy, barbed passage from a book that is mostly the opposite of pithy (i.e. exhaustively, exhaustingly detailed, specific, empirical, and rigourous).