Friday, 2 December 2011


I was invited to a talk by the Precarious Workers Brigade (PWB), the subject of the talk - service as a vocation, as mission, as a tool. Although I do struggle from time to time with professionalism, I have done a lot of ‘work’ unpaid and on a temporary paid basis – I dunno it intrigued me. Some members of this group existed within the art sector. This Brigade resembled a ‘union’, created in response to the many contradictions and inconsistencies that arise within the sector.

The audience was largely made up of art students, internships was mainly the subject of discussion when put to them. Rich for me to say, but I wasn’t very sympathetic, probably because of that expectation; education = Jobs, because we now have a thriving art sector. PWB is a performative artwork, which has some plastic outcomes (like flyers and leaflets) - but having an effect as a movement? They found difficulty in answering that…

They eloquently put it in a nutshell - it’s a ‘double bind’, those lack of rights and stability are the consequences of the creative freedom we desire.

‘Service’ in relation to the stuff I make, has always been a difficult concept. I make something very specific, it comes from my own head – it’s not particularly an objective process but I dedicate a shitload of time to it. Sometimes there’s overlap - the work touches someone else – maybe they like it, maybe they respond to it, they might even buy it. So in not always being a service or commodity explicitly, what are you left with? How does one continue to enquire and create as an individual committed to (an idea/ideal of) ‘art’? How does one’s activities evolve in relation to circumstances?

What wasn’t spoken about was the idea of labour, since the focus was white-collar work. I’m still preoccupied with blue-collar work, not because it’s a reality right now – but because it’s a notion, which pervades my life; how I interact with people. I’m reading at the moment, but somehow still need the 'feel good factor’ from tangible outcomes.

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