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December 2, 2016 – March 4, 2017

Artspace, New Haven

Intensive Symposium on Saturday 25, 2017.

Participating Artists: Kristine Anthis, Anna Betbeze, Jesse Darling, João Enxuto & Erica Love, Carolyn Lazard, Park McArthur, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, YES! Association / Föreningen JA!, and Constantina Zavitsanos

A new job to unwork at investigates work as a social, material, and economic process, as well as a legitimating discourse that privileges certain activities and life choices. The exhibition is the result of an ongoing research that examines work’s crucial role in shaping our identities and our experiences of the world we live in. The artists in this exhibition explore this understanding of work with regard to cultural production, its relation to broader labor conditions, and current social and political movements. In a field increasingly reliant on the figure of the precarious freelancer and characterized by individualistic entrepreneurial values, these artists look toward renewed possibilities of resistance through strategies of dialogue, dependence, and care. If on a modest scale, this project aspires to support nascent models of speculative world-making and activism through forms of artistic labor.

The title A new job to unwork at is borrowed from Valerie Solanas’s cult feminist text SCUM Manifesto (1967), which calls for women’s active and systematic dismantling of the patriarchal labor force by disobeying its laws and destroying its infrastructures. Such an orientation toward work evinces a communist utopia—“SCUM salesgirls will not charge for merchandise; SCUM telephone operators will not charge for calls”—while also acknowledging the piecemeal and ongoing nature of this struggle against dominant ideologies and structural violence: “SCUM will unwork at a job until fired, then get a new job to unwork at.”[1] Solanas’s manifesto is a node in a critical tradition that can be traced back to Marx’s analysis of estranged labor, which argued that “Labor produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity.”[2] This idea is brought to bear on a contemporary socioeconomic context in Kathi Weeks’s recent feminist analysis of the concept of “work ethics,” in which she questions the indiscriminate valorization of work, and its rarely questioned investment with value. As Weeks writes, “What is perplexing is less the acceptance of the present reality that one must work to live than the willingness to live for work.”[3]

For the project’s current iteration at Artspace, the curators will continue to implement this localized approach, engaging diverse New Haven constituencies to unpack issues of labor as they relate to the specific educational and social politics particular to this place.

More info about the project on http://anewjobtounworkat.tumblr.com/

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References:
[1] Solanas, Valerie. SCUM Manifesto. New York: self-published, 1967.

[2] Karl Marx. “Estranged Labour.” Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.

[3] Weeks, Kathi. The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

 

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A new job to unwork at
Organized by Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel

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Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Phase One: March 9 – April 17, 2016

Artspace New Haven. Phase Two: December 2, 2016 – March 4, 2017

A new job to unwork at is constituted by two nodes: an interdisciplinary research platform that occupied the Project Space at LACE (Los Angeles, CA) for five weeks in the spring of 2016, and an exhibition at Artspace (New Haven, CT) in the fall-winter 2016-2017. Its overarching premise is to consider the role of work as a dominant life-structuring force in contemporary societies, with a focus on spheres of cultural production.

So far Andrew Kachel and I have realized the first phase of this project. This took the shape of an interdisciplinary research platform involving a core working group of Los Angeles-based artists and curators. The project presented a series of private meetings and public programs that examined the role of work as a dominant life-structuring construct. Participants and audiences were invited to engage in a “material-theoretical discussion” that considered the project’s motivating questions— e.g. What is work? How do we do it? What do we include or exclude within its boundaries? What are the negative effects and strategic advantages of organizing our activities under this banner? Our research traversed different formats, offering insight into participants’ individual working methods and the questions they bring to bear. The project also looked at inserting production into the space of exhibition, directing the time and resources of the institution toward a critical reflection on the conditions that make our work in this field possible.

Participants included Andrew Kachel and Clara López Menéndez (organizers), Rafa Esparza, Shoghig Halajian, Dylan Mira, Lee Relvas, Patrick Staff and Alexia Welch.
A new job to unwork at began on March 9, 2016 with an introductory presentation in the LACE Project Space from 7PM-10PM. During the closing weekend on April 14-17, 2016, a series of events will verbalize some conclusions, share strategies, and mobilize ideas that emerged during the research process. This included the screening Net Incidents Collide curated by project participant Dylan Mira.

The project takes its title from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (1968).

More information about the project and the research we did together throughout the 5 weeks the group was meeting on anewjobtounworkat.tumblr.com

This blog is intended as a platform to share our research. All the readings proposed for the discussions as well as other materials used by the collective research are available there too.

Andrew and I are currently working on the 2nd phase of the project that will take place in New Haven’s Artspace between December 2nd, 2016 and March 4, 2017. Is it really working in New Haven will work with the research possibilities of the exhibition as a format to think through the core questions and issues of work, labor and their relationship to subjectivity formation in highly developed capitalism. We are very excited because we know that so far we will be working with Anna Betbeze, Park McArthur, Constantina Zavitsanos, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, YES! Association/Föreningen JA!, Erica Love & João Enxuto, and more t.b.a.

 

ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS of the LA chapter

Rafa Esparza was born, raised, and is currently living in Los Angeles. Esparza is a multidisciplinary artist. His work ranges in medium from installation, sculpture to drawing, painting; and predominantly live performance. Woven into Esparza’s bodies of work are his interests in history, personal narrative, and kinship. He is inspired by his own relationship to colonization and the disrupted genealogies that come forth as a result of. Esparza is persistent in staging situations where he attempts to experience a time and space inaccessible to him. Using live performance as his main form of inquiry; site specificity, materiality, memory and (non)documentation are primary tools in interrogating, critiquing and examining ideologies, power structures and binaries that problematize the “survival” process of historicized narratives and the present environments wherein people are left to navigate and socialize. Esparza has performed in a variety of spaces ranging from community engaged places such as AIDS Project Los Angeles, to galleries and museums including The Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, SOMArts and most recently public sites throughout the city of L.A. He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a 2014 Art Matters grantee, and a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.

Shoghig Halajian is Assistant Director at LACE and Co-Managing Director at Human Resources LA. Recent curatorial projects include Rafa Esparza: i have never been here before (LACE, 2015); i,ii-xi, a talk series, in collaboration with Suzy M. Halajian and Anthony Carfello (2015); and The Heart is the Frame (LACE, 2014). From 2007-2010, she co-directed Eighteen Thirty Collaborations, a project space that focused on performance-based artist commissions. She has presented collaborative projects at Magasin-Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble; Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Oslo; SOMA, Mexico City, among others. She invited Clara López Menéndez and Andrew Kachel to develop A new job to unwork at in the LACE Project Room.

Dylan Mira is an artist moving video and text, recording how language makes bodies within the limits of representation and the thickness of time. Her recent projects have been presented at Performa 15, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, and Human Resources. She holds an MFA in New Genres from University of California Los Angeles and a BFA in Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lee Relvas is an artist using sculpture, performance, writing, and sound to think through and manifest the visceral and immaterial experiences of being a body.  She has performed and shown work at Artist Curated Projects, Park View Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Suzanne Geiss Company, Honor Fraser Gallery, Orchard, Art in General, and The One Archives.  She is also a musician who records under the moniker Rind and is at work on her seventh solo album.

Patrick Staff is an artist based in London and Los Angeles. Their interdisciplinary and frequently collaborative work considers ideas of discipline, dissent, labour and the queer body, frequently drawing on the historical narration of counter-culture and alternative forms of community building. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Chisenhale, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. They have most recently been part of the Serpentine Transformation Marathon 2015, and British Art Show 8, which tours venues throughout 2016.

alexia welch lives, works, jogs in Los Angeles where she also makes videos and texts. these projects often take up issues surrounding embodiment, dykeish sexuality and community standards. she graduated from the film and electronic arts department at bard college in 2013.

During the summer of 2016 I was back in my dear Berlin working on this amazing project with my colleagues, the people with whom I did Wir Spielen (We Play) in 2013 (mostly).

Between May 12th and June 24th we worked hard with a myriad collaborators and participants, fostering a platform and meeting point where to share different practices that approach activism, artistic creation, advocacy, performance, etc from a feminist perspective.

Here is more information about this project that allowed me to learn so much.

Also for complete info about the project check noplay.ngbk.de and noplayfeministtraining.wordpress.com/

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No play

Feminist Training Camp, Publication
21 May – 26 June 2016 // Opening: 20 May 2016

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Still from Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames, 1983

 

Wake up! This is station 2016 on your dial. If you can’t find it then you’re in trouble, sister.
– Born in Flames, 1983

Participants:
Wassan Ali, Bini Adamczak & Konstanze Schmitt, Anna Bromley, Cinenova Feminist Film and Video Distributor / Karolin Meunier, COOL FOR YOU, Kajsa Dahlberg, Athena Farrokhzad, Feministische Gesundheitsrecherchegruppe Berlin, Feminist Repair Café / Elisa Garrote Gasch, Annie Goh, Minna Henriksson, International Women’s Space, Karolina Kucia, Las Hipókritas, Lowkick Tag Team, Diana McCarty, Iris Rajanayagam, Noha Ramadan, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Sabrina Saase & Lanca, Nora Sternfeld, Dominika Trapp & Virág Bogyó, MC Xuparina, Andrea Zarza a.o.

—   A message from the future is warning us that time is running out.   —

No play quote

In the past years Europe’s colonial continuities and deeply rooted fascist practices have come to the fore in ever more frightening ways. Resistance is now crucial. We urgently need to revive old and develop new feminist and anti-fascist strategies of resistance and survival.

—   What training do we need?   —

No play proposes a structure, a temporal, spatial and social architecture that turns the exhibition space of nGbK into a resource, a site of activity and exchange in the shape of a Feminist Training Camp.

The Training Camp stems from a queer understanding of feminism with a strong  emphasis on grassroots models of collective organization, knowledges based in lived experience and the handling of daily oppressions. A space for disagreement and negotiation that can create a situated public considered political. For this, an intersectional understanding of how categories such as gender, race, class, ability, and sexual orientation are intertwined in oppressive power structures is necessary.

nGbK project group: Freja Bäckman, Enna Gerin, Merja Hannikainen, Annika Högner, Vappu Jalonen, Clara López Menéndez

In 2013 at nGbK the group (with Bogg Johanna Karlsson) investigated the pronoun ‘we’ with the project WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY). Their practice is informed by the idea that the structure of HOW we come together strongly influences WHAT we can do together.

 

commune-tv-12Video program. Part 1
This program is made in conjunction and in dialogue with the exhibition “The Closer I Get to the End the More I Re-write the Beginning” curated by Suzy Halajian and that opens on November 21 at Human Resources Los Angeles.
Part 1 is a 2 day video program curated by Clara López Menéndez and Suzy Halajian.

Location: 1009 N. Madison Ave. LA, 90029
Due to the nature of the program please RSVP to invitation.of.sorts@gmail.com

Saturday, November 14, 2-9pm
Screening La Commune (Paris, 1871), 2000, 345 min / A film by Peter Watkins / Courtesy Icarus Films

Sunday, November 15, 5:30-9pm
Screening of Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk’s Out on the Street, 2015, 71 min, followed by a discussion on both films.

“The Closer I Get to the End the More I Re-write the Beginning” wants to interrogate the state of exhaustion as a contemporary condition, through the time and space that make it possible. The project questions the appearance and contours of social spaces that enable exhaustion, and locates instances within these sites that allow for new forms of sociability. By considering both individual and collective states of being together situated within a neoliberal and mutating model of capitalism, the exhibition asks how these spaces may be realized in a state of nonstop action and renewal and how their potentials may unfold over time.

What is the social space created by a screening? And a film production? How the conditions of production transform the material outcome independently of the medium’s qualities? What happens when exhausted political moments are mobilized by the desires behind filmmaking, bringing into life a functional “lie” that helps understand the present? Is this re-iteration of the past a legitimate tool or just a foolish operation?

This screening is exhausting and it’s set up as a social task. We wanted to gather a group in front of these films to outlive their lenght and engage in the complexity of the propositions they convey, entangled in their attention to detail and aversion to synthesis.

La Commune

For the film LA COMMUNE we travel back in time to 1871 to the Paris Commune, the French revolutionary government established by the people of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1871-1871). A journalist for Versailles Television broadcasts a soothing and official view of events while a Commune television is set up to provide the perspectives of the Paris rebels. On a stage-like set, more than 200 actors interpret characters of the Commune, especially the Popincourt neighborhood in the XIth arrondissement. They voice their own thoughts and feelings concerning the social and political reforms. The telling of this story rests primarily on depicting the people of the Commune, and those who suppressed them.

Deliberately, this film is an attempt to challenge existing notions of documentary film, as well as the notions of ‘neutrality’ and ‘objectivity’ so beloved by the mass media today. The film is not intended as an apologia on behalf of the Paris Commune. But at the same time, it attempts to show that the Paris Commune, for all its human frailty, its internal conflicts and its blundering, was an event of major importance, not least because of the way in which its leading reformers tried to work with social process, by a direct involvement with the community and its needs.

Out on the Street

Out on the Street is a film about a group of workers from one of Egypt’s working class neighborhoods, Helwan. In the film ten working-class men participate in an acting workshop. Through the rehearsals, stories emerge of factory injustice, police brutality, courts that fabricate criminal charges, and countless tales of corruption and exploitation by their capitalist employers. On a rooftop studio overlooking the heart of Cairo – presented as a space between fact and fiction – the participants move in and out of character as they shape the performance that engages their daily realities. Out in the Street interweaves scenes from the workshop, fictional performances, and mobile phone footage shot by a worker intended as evidence for the courts to stop the destruction of his workplace. This hybrid approach aims to engage a collective imaginary, situating the participants and spectators within a broader social struggle.

La Commune (Paris, 1871) courtesy of Icarus Films
Out on the Street courtesy of the artists, Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk

Today I’m starting a social-listening project that Maya Dikstein and I came up with as part of our different residencies here in São Paulo. I’m at the FAAP and she’s having one at Casa Juisi/Phosphorus. In an instinct to activate the space and open it up with a gathering that wasn’t a conversation or any very productive format, and focusing our her current interest in listening as an action, ontologically and epistemologically speaking, we started a series of Escutas or Listen-ins, weekly evening meetings where to gather in silence or noise to listen to something yet undetermined and enjoy them as a social act, disregarding the noisy, active part of communication.

We encourage all people coming, listeners, to bring ideas and objects or situations to listen to in the next sessions. We are going to do it once a week, listening to other things, but the first is Galaxias, a poem by Haroldo de Campos written between 1963 and 1976. The recording is the poet reading Galaxias in 1992. The whole duration of the tape is 1h 09′ 26″

If you are around this evening and wanna come to listen to some pre-recorded poetry, lay down and enjoy the sound in common, join us!

Today at Phosphorus close to Praça da Sé, Centro, São Paulo, at 20h

Here more info in Portuguese and the address etc

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Is It Really working? A Physical Symposium/Crash Course has recently taken place within the framework of my MA thesis project for the Master in Curatorial Studies at CCS Bard.

The symposium/crash course occurred between April 10th and 14th 2014 and comprised a series of closed and open conversations and workshops among artists and culture agents coming from different fields of artistic production. The idea was to gather around a discussion concerning the current conditions of culture production, with the current situation for artists, curators, and other art workers in the area of NYC as a starting point. The lenses through which we departed in our conversations is a sense of commitment to political positions informed by feminist and queer politics, with the constant problematization and questioning that such political affiliations entail.

The core group that was invited to participate in this experimental platform was formed by Vanessa Anspaugh, Malin Arnell, Amelia Bande, Gregg Bordowitz, Kajsa Dahlberg, Andrew Kachel and Alhena Katsof. Arnell and Dahlberg, despite not being directly invited with the allocated budget for my project, were able to participate since they were also part of my classmates shows, Carla Acevedo-Yates and Andrew Kachel. Through a form of informal collaboration between us, they all were able to take part in these conversations, informing with their thoughtful formulations of their experience, the scope of the problematics brought to the table.

This project wanted to propose a space of reflection that was also mobilized by the material sharing of the rituals that compose our labour practices. The intention was was not to only summon a space of debate, but also of workshop. In the morning (closed) sessions that completed the public ones visible in the above schedule, we had a dance and improvisation workshop, led by Malin Arnell and Vanessa Anspaugh. We also realized a writing workshop led by Amelia Bande and Gregg Bordowitz, who shared methods they used in their writing and exercises that wish to complicate the extended conception of writing as a solipsistic and solitary creative process. For the last open session Alhena Katsof, Andrew Kachel and myself shared our experiences and impressions about the possibility of coherence in working structures, the materialities of curatorial practice, and the importance of social relations in labour landscapes.

Apart from these formulated moments of encounter or events, framed as closed or public, depending on the limit of the participation, we also shared a house, meals, stories, inspirations, and time. We took the time to step out of New York City’s frantic rhythm and tried an exercise of conviviality. The result were deep and prolonged conversations, that stretch from one discursive framework to another, where ideas about the current conditions of production and the ideological bulk that comes with them were contested by investments in political content that permeates the form. A thorough thinking process around the notion of queer labor, or queering labor, occupied a lot of our conversations, approaching it as an attempt to willing complicate and expand our relationship to the concept of work and labour. We also talked about community, pleasure in labour, communism and commoning, necessity in community and the perils of exclusion, temporary solutions and the problematization of the individual creator as a measure.

We worked inside and outside the campus of Bard College for five intense and fruitful days.

This is just a taste of the opacity we were in.

Is It Really Working? webpage at CCS Bard

Carla Acevedo-Yate’s project for the MA thesis is Turn on the bright light

Andrew Kachel’s thesis exhibition project is We owe each other everything

Al also made a zine/publication for the project. The solid copies of this printed matter can be found in Andrew Kachel’s project gallery, We owe each other everything, in the CCS Galleries at CCS Bard, Bard College. A pdf copy of the zine can be downloaded IsItReallyWorking?Reader.

And here are some pictures from these days. These don’t pretend to be a full representation of what we did or how it looked like. It’s what I have so far. I’m in the process of compiling the material different participants have from the project. Apologies for the gaps and the actions I didn’t have the mind to document:

 

photo copyThe house where we were staying, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, talking, joking, writing, outside, inside…

 

photo 1Movement workshop with Malin and Vanessa on Friday morning.

photo 2photo 3writing workshop with Amelia and Gregg

photo 5Last open session on Monday afternoon, led by Alhena, Andrew and me. This is before Vanessa’s advance dance students came and join us for the session. Thank all for coming!

photoA last contribution sent by Malin. It reminded her of something…

 

 

On the 16th and 17th of March, the curatorial team responsible (among them me!) for the project WIR SPIELEN at the NGBK realized the first event of the series; a workshop run by theater writer Amelia Bande and in which 30 participants partook.

The workshop run for two days, from 10 to 17H and worked around collective writing using anti-authoritarian methods, re-use of texts compiled by curators and participants in an archive and the composition of small choreographies stemming from the collective work.

Here are some pictures of the event.

The following event took place on the 23rd of April with the student autonomous organization Interflugs.

More information to come!

http://wirspielen.net

Photographies by Merja Hannikainen

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013

Wir Spielen, Act 1, NGBK Veranstaltungsraum 16.-17.3.2013