Wed 30 May 2018

The Politics of Work in Art


Dave BeechBenjamin FallonKirsteen MacdonaldMarina Vishmidt

Welcome to this PARSE Dialogue on Art and work.

Art has been integral to recent debates and critical strategies contesting the social imaginary of work. The modernist vision of artistic labour as the paradigm of nonalienated labour has been replaced by the argument that artists are exemplars of the precarious 24/7 worker. The politics of labour has been replaced with the micropolitics of work and the project to transform work has been replaced with the campaign for the end of work. This Parse Dialogue will focus on difficulties of distinguishing between work and play and how work has been a model for rejuvenating art as a critical form of labour.

The event is free and open to the public, no sign up required. The dialogue will be in English.


Dave Beech

Dr Dave Beech is Reader in Art and Marxism at the University of the Arts, London. He is the author of Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics(Brill 2015), which was shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize. His most recent books Art and Postcapitalism: Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production(Pluto 2019) and Art and Labour:On the Hostility to Handicraft, Aesthetic Labour and the Politics of Work in Art(Brill 2020) re-construct art’s historical hostility to capitalism. Beech is an artist who worked in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan) between 2004 and 2018. His current art practice translates the tradition of critical documentary film into sequences of prints that combine photomontage and text art.


Benjamin Fallon

Benjamin Fallon is an independent curator, writer and designer. He was a founding member of Chapter Thirteen, a co-operative and project space conceived to explore the social, critical and material potentials of the curatorial. Previously he acted as a co-director of Embassy, Edinburgh (2009-2010). Previous projects include Let’s Get Together and Call Ourselves an Institute, Chapter Thirteen (2017-18), the exhibition and publication To The Reader at Basis Voor Actuelle Kunst, Utrecht as part of Impakt Festival’s 25th edition (2013). As a participant of the programme CuratorLab at Konstfack in Stockholm he developed the programme You Are Just in the Middle of the Beginning (2012).


Kirsteen Macdonald

Kirsteen Macdonald is co-founder of the curatorial co-operative Chapter Thirteen. Since 2011 she has developed a series of ongoing discursive platforms for curators including Framework and the peer-learning project Curatorial Studio supported by the Scottish Contemporary Art Network. As an independent curator she co-organised What’s Love Got To Do With It? with philosopher Vanessa Brito presented at Galerie Art-Cade in Marseille in May 2018, and has been employed by Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (2009-12), Timespan in Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland (2010-12) and The Barn, Banchory, Aberdeenshire (2012-13). Between 2014-18 she was Lecturer in Design, History & Theory at the Glasgow School of Art. Her current AHRC funded doctoral research at the GSA explores the curatorial as both dependent on, and a form of, co-operative infrastructure. She is a member of the Advisory Board for Lux Scotland and was previously director of The Changing Room in Stirling (2001-09).


Marina Vishmidt

Marina Vishmidt (1976-2024) was a London-based writer, editor and critic occupied mainly with questions around art, labour and value. She was the author of Speculation as a Mode of Production (Brill, early 2016) and A for Autonomy (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Textem, late 2014). She often worked with artists and contributes to journals such as Mute, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, Ephemera, Kaleidoscope, Parkett, and OPEN! as well as co-/edited collections and catalogues, most recently Anguish Language (anguishlanguage.tumbr.com). She has authored chapters in The Routledge Companion to Art and Politics (Routledge, 2015) and The ECONOMY Reader (University of Liverpool Press, forthcoming).
She taught individually or as part of a collective at University of the Arts, Berlin, Central Saint Martins, Goldsmiths, the Royal Academy, Copenhagen and the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem. Her work on debt, social reproduction and artistic enterpreneurialism can be found on libcom.org and in the e-flux journal, and she has also lectured and given workshops on these topics in universities, art institutions and activist spaces.
Vishmidt also had a long-term involvement with artists’ moving image in critical and exhibition contexts such as feminist film distributor Cinenova and the free cinema Full Unemployment Cinema.


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