Corina L. Apostol on Sun, 16 Sep 2012 19:48:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Launching the ArtLeaks Gazette (Call for Papers)

*On the urgency of launching the ArtLeaks Gazette*

Artleaks was founded in 2011  <>as an
international platform for cultural workers where instances of abuse,
corruption and exploitation are exposed and submitted for public
inquiry. After over a year of activity, we, members of the collective
ArtLeaks felt an urgent need to establish a regular on-line publication as
a tool for empowerment in the face of the systemic abuse of cultural
workers??? basic labor rights, repression or even blatant censorship and
growing corporatization of culture that we encounter  today.

Namely: radical (political) projects are co-opted under the umbrella of
corporate promotion and gentrification; artistic research is performed on
research hand-outs, creating only an illusion of depth while in fact adding
to the reserve army of creative capital; the secondary market thrives as
auction houses speculate on blue chip artists for enormous amounts of
laundered money, following finance capitalism from boom to bust, meanwhile,
most artists can???t even make a living and depend on miserly fees,
restrictive residencies, and research handouts to survive; galleries and
dealers more and more heavily copyright cultural values; approximately 5%
of authors, producers and dealers control 80% of all cultural resources
(and indeed, in reality, the situation may be even worse than these numbers
suggest) ; certain cultural managers and institutions do not shy away from
using repressive maneuvers against those who bring into question their
mission, politics or dubious engagements with corporate or state
benefactors; and last but not least, restrictive national(ist) laws and
governments suppress cultural workers through very drastic politics, not to
mention the national state functions as a factor of neoliberal expression
in the field of culture.

Do you recognize yourself in the scenarios above? Do you accept them as
immutable conditions of your labor? We strongly believe that this dire
state of affairs can be changed. We do not have to carry on complying to
politics that cultivate harsh principles of pseudo-natural selection (or
social Darwinism) ??? instead we should fight against them and imagine
different scenarios based on collective values, fairness and dignity. We
strongly believe that issues of exploitation, repression or co-optation
cannot be divorced from their specific politico-economic contexts and
historical conditions, and need to be raised in connection with a new
concept of culture as an invaluable reservoir of the common, as well as new
forms of class consciousness in the artistic field in particular, and the
cultural field more generally.

Recently, this spectrum of urgencies and the necessity to address them has
also become the focus of fundamental discussions and reflection on the part
of communities involved in cultural production and certain leftist social
and political activists. Among these, we share the concerns of pioneering
groups such as the Radical Education Collective <>
 (Ljubljana), Precarious Workers???
Brigade<> (PWB)
(London), W.A.G.E. <> (NYC), Arts
 (NYC), the May Congress of Creative Workers <> (Moscow)
and others (see the Related Causes <>section on
our website). The condition of cultural workers has also recently been
theorized within the framework of bio-politics, in which cognitive labor is
implicitly described as a new hegemonic type of production in the context
of the global industrialization of creative work.

The question then emerges, what is creative work today? To structure this
undifferentiated categorizations, we will begin by addressing in our
journal all those ???occupied??? with art who are striving towards emancipatory
knowledge in the process of their activity. As the contemporary art world
more and more envelops different areas of knowledge as well as the
production of events, we considered it a priority to focus on this
particular field. However, we remain open to discussing urgencies related
to other forms of creative activity beyond the art world.

Through our journal, we want to stresses the urgent need to seriously
transform these workers??? relationship with institutions, networks and
economies involved in the production, reproduction and consumption of art
and culture.  We will pursue these goals through developing  a new approach
to the tradition of institutional critique and fostering new forms of
artistic production, that may challenge dominant discourses of criticality
and social engagement which tame creative forces. We also feel the urgency
to link cultural workers??? struggles with similar ones from other fields of
human activity ??? at the same time, we strongly believe that any such
sustainable alliances could hardly be built unless we begin with the
struggles in our own factories.

*Announced Theme for the first issue*: *Breaking the Silence ??? Towards
Justice, Solidarity and Mobilization*

The main theme of the first issue of our journal is establishing a politics
of truth by breaking the silence on the art world. What do we actually mean
by this? We suggest that breaking the silence on the art world is similar
to breaking the silence of family violence and other forms of domestic
abuse. Similarly as when coming out with stories of endemic exploitation
form inside the household, talking about violence and exploitation in the
art world commonly brings shame, ambivalence and fear. But while each case
of abuse may be different, we believe these are not singular instances but
part of a larger system of repression, abuse and arrogance that have been
normalized through the practices of certain cultural managers and
institutions. Our task is to find voices, narratives, hybrid forms that
raise consciousness about the profound effects of these forms of
maltreatment: to break through the normalizing rhetoric that relegate
cultural workers??? labor to an activity performed out of instinct, for the
survival of culture at large, like sex or child rearing which, too are
zones of intense exploitation today.

Implicit in this gesture is a radical form of protest ??? one that does not
simply join the concert of affirmative institutional critique which
confirms the system by criticizing it. Rather, breaking the silence implies
bringing into question the ways in which the current art system constructs
positions for its speakers, and looking for strategies in which to
counteract naturalized exploitation and repression today.

At the same time, we recognize that the moment of exposure does not fully
address self-organization or, what comes after breaking the silence? We
suggest that it is therefore important to link this to solidarity,
mobilization and an appeal for justice, as political tools. As it is the
understanding of the dynamic interaction between the mobilization of
resources, political opportunities in contexts and emancipatory cultural
frames that we can use to analyze and construct strategies for cultural
workers movements.  With summoning the urgency of *potentia agendi* (or the
power to act) collectively we also call for the necessity to forge
coalitions within the art world and beyond it ??? alliances that have the
concrete ability of exerting a certain political pressure towards achieving
the promise of a more just and emancipatory cultural field.


*Structure of publication*

The journal would be divided into six major sections.

*A. Critique of cultural dominance apparatuses*

Here we will address methodological issues in analyzing the condition of
cultural production and the system that allows for the facile exploitation
of the cultural labor-force. Ideally, though not necessarily, these
theoretical elaborations would be related to concrete case studies of
conflicts, exploitation, dissent  across various regions of the world,
drawing comparisons and providing local context for understanding them.

*B. Forms of organization and history of struggles*

Cultural workers have been demanding just working conditions, struggling
over agency and subjectivity in myriad ways and through various ideas about
what this entails. In this section we will analyze historical case-studies
of self-organization of cultural workers. Our goal is not to produce a
synthetic model out of all of these struggles, rather to examine how
problems have been articulated at various levels of (political)
organization, with attention to the genealogy of the issues and the
interaction between hegemonic discourses (of the institution, corporation,
the state) and those employed by cultural workers in their respective
C. The struggle of narrations*

In this section we will invite our contributors to develop and practice
artistic forms of narration which cannot be fully articulated through
direct ???leaking???. It should be focused on finding new languages for
narration of systemic dysfunctions. We expect these elaborations can take
different form of artistic contributions, including comics, poems, films,
plays, short stories, librettos etc.

*D. Glossary of terms*

What do we mean by the concept of ???cultural workers???? What does
???gentrification??? or ???systemic abuse??? mean in certain contexts?  Whose ???art
world???? This section addresses the necessity of developing a terminology to
make theoretical articulations more clear and accessible to our readers.
Members of ArtLeaks as well as our contributors to our gazette will be
invited to define key terms used in the material presented in the
publication. These definitions should be no more that 3-4 sentences long
and they should be formulated as a result of a dialogue between all the

*E. Education and its discontents*

The conflicts and struggles in the field of creative education are at the
core of determining what kind of subjectivities will shape the culture(s)
of future generations. It is very important to carefully analyze what is
currently at the stake in these specific fields of educational processes
and how they are linked with what is happening outside academies and
universities.  In this section we will discuss possible emancipatory
approaches to education that are possible today, which resist pressing
commercial demands for flexible and ???creative??? subjectivities. Can we
imagine an alternative system of values based of a different meaning of

*F. Best practices and useful resources*

In this section we would like to invite people to play out their fantasies
of new, just forms of organization of creative life. Developing the
tradition of different visionaries of the past we hope that this section
will trigger many speculations which might help us collect modest proposals
for the future and thus counter the shabby reality of the present. This
section is also dedicated  to the practices which demonstrate  alternative
ethical guidelines, and stimulate the creation of a common cultural sphere.
This would allow cultural workers to unleash their full potential in
creating values based on principles of emancipatory politics, critical
reflections and affirmative inspiration of a different world where these
values should form the basis of a dignified life.

*On Practicalities*

Our open call addresses all those who feel the urgency to discuss the
aforementioned-issues. We look forward to collecting contributions until
the *31st of December 2012*. Contributions should be delivered in English
or as an exemption in any language after negotiations with the editorial
council. The editorial council of Artleaks takes responsibility of
communicating with all authors during the editorial process.

*Please contact us with any questions, comments and submit materials to: When submitting material, please also note the section
under which you would like to see it published. *

The online gazette will be published in English under the Creative Commons
attribution noncommercial-share alike and its materials will be offered for
translation in any languages to any interested parties.

We will publish all contributions delivered to us in a separate section.
However, our editorial council takes full responsibility in composing an
issue of the journal in the way we feel it should be done.

*Editorial council for the first issue will consist of: Corina L. Apostol, *
*Vladan Jeremi??, **Vlad Morariu,** David Riff *and *Dmitry Vilensky.*

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