Although a blurring of the boundaries between leisure, work and artistic practice seems like an apt description of many artists’ living situations this session questions why the concept of ‘immaterial labour’ has become so popular within the art world in recent years. What is different about artistic labour now that indicates the necessity for a shift in theorising artworks and art practices as distinct from the relationship between how artists worked and what they produced in say, the 1960s or even the historical avant-gardes of the 1920s-1930s? Is ‘immaterial labour’ a useful category for aesthetic analysis? Can ‘art’ be located as a ‘profession’, set of activities, or even as a type of subjectivity within capitalism? In relation to the above questions, where can the concept of ‘immaterial labour’ take us, politically, within the art world?
In this session Kerstin Stakemeier, Larne Abse Gogarty and Josefine Wikström will each give a short take on their position of this subject. This will be followed by a discussion with the audience.
Larne Abse Gogarty is a writer and researcher currently undertaking doctoral research at UCL in the History of Art department on collective art practices in the USA in the 1930s and 1990s. She is a regular contributor to Art Monthly, involved in organising the Marxism in Culture seminar at the Institute of Historical Research and also a member of the steering committee for the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art at UCL.
Kerstin Stakemeier lives and works in Berlin and Munich, where she is junior professor for media theory in the centre for interdisciplinary studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. She studied political theory and art history in Bremen, Berlin and London, where she completed her PhD on “Entkunstung – artistic models for the end of art” in 2010. She writes for a.o. for Texte zur Kunst, Springerin, Afterall and Phase 2. She has published several books, most recently “Painting – The Implicit Horion” (ed. with Avigail Moss).
Josefine Wikström is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University. In her thesis she investigates the role of performance art within contemporary art and from the standpoint of concepts of labour in Marx and post-Marxist thinkers. Josefine Wikström has taught at Central Saint Martins and Konstfack in Stockholm. She works as an art critic and writer and has written for Afterall Journal, Philosophy and Photography, Performance Research Journal and Paletten among others.