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AL Gazette No. 3 Open Call // Artists Against Precarity and Violence – Resistance Strategies, Unionizing, and Coalition Building in a Time of Global Conflict and Contradiction

January 28, 2015

artleaks

                                                                                                                                                                                                         The ArtLeaks Gazette aims to shed critical light on both the challenges and obstacles inherent in the contemporary art world, in order to work towards constructive and meaningful transformations. Beyond breaking the silenceand exposing bad practices, we are exploring the ways in which art workers around the world are pushing towards changing their factories of art, embedded in larger socio-economic-political flows. We realize this is a difficult task, as the global condition since ArtLeaks was established in 2011 is quite different. The (art)world has changed and it seems that violence and hostility rule around the globe. The years to come seem like they will be even more full of conflict and contradiction. Due to the increase of global wars, the threat of climate breakdown, and other devastating realities, new media and technology are being used in a negative way, encouraging deeper precarity, austerity, and inequality. This is happening in the sector of arts and culture increasing the debt of artists and cultural workers. We believe that art workers need to formulate an answer to these challenges, to build global coalitions, and to unionize in order to counter precarity and violence in a countervailing way.

The third issue of the ArtLeaks Gazette will bring together theoreticians and practitioners dealing with these urgent questions about models of organizations, unionizing, and strategies of resistance. This helps to illuminate new ways of production and coalition building in international and local environments that are increasingly hostile.

Specifically, social institutions of the welfare state are in poor shape thanks to the neoliberal offensive now underway for several decades. This process affects art workers. For example, in so-called “creative” European cities, significant numbers of registered artists function as a reserve armyfor cheap or even voluntary work. Conditions of artistic labor are summarily dismissed as unimportant, frequently among the upper echelons of the art management class, and sometimes even among artists that have either achieved economic hegemony or aspire to it. In some cases, when members of the art community do decide to speak out, they face the danger of being excluded from an exhibition or a project, or blacklisted from working in certain institutions.

One of the problems lies in the fact that artists usually do not understand themselves as workers, but see themselves working against each other and feel that art production differs from the capitalist working relations of the greater economy. The challenge is to continue to question the autonomy of artistic production, to confront those who benefit with this mode of cultural profiteering, and to demythologize the production process of art itself.

Several present-day activist art worker groups are beginning to look back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, and even further to the mid 19th century, particularly in the 1930s, as moments of inspiration during social movements and political struggles, for the fight for art workers’ rights, reclaiming cultural institutions, art and/as labor in a global context. Indeed, we would emphasize todays art workers need more of that do-it-together spirit, a greater common interest and a more developed strategy and plan for transformation.

Therefore, the key issue the third installment of the ArtLeaks Gazette wants to tackle is the question:“Is it possible to make an international coalition of artists on the basis of art workers’ solidarity and to struggle for better material conditions?” And if so, then what could be the mechanisms to build and spread the network and to make stronger demands? Are there modes of production that can support coalition building?

We welcome contributions in a variety of narrative forms, from articles, commentaries, and glossary entries, to posters, drawings and films. The deadline for entries is the 5th of April, 2015. Contributions should be delivered in English, or as an exemption in other languages after negotiations with the editorial council. The editorial council of ArtLeaks takes responsibility for communicating with all authors during the editorial process.

Please contact us with any questions, comments, and submit materials to: artsleaks@gmail.com.

The on-line 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 parts.

Limited printed copies will be available. We are calling on those of you who regularly print as a part of your work to help us get the ALG by committing to small print runs of 50-100 copies. We will make several PDF formats of the ALG to meet various digital needs, as well as an epub edition. We encourage contributors to be an active part of spreading the ALG by hosting it on their site and forwarding it on to their networks.

The editorial council for the third issue is: Corina L. Apostol, Brett A. Bloom and Vladan Jeremić.

Previous issues of the ArtLeaks Gazette can be read here and here.

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