Thu 17 May 2018

What Does Work Look Like?


Dave BeechTom CubbinJosefine Wikström

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 The modernist vision of artistic labour as the paradigm of nonalienated labour has been replaced by the argument that artists are exemplars of the precarious 24/7 worker.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.


Tom Cubbin

Tom Cubbin is a design historian whose work explores the role of making in material cultures of sex. Tom’s research project, entitled ‘Crafting Desire: An International Design History of Gay Fetish Making,’ is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (2019-2021). The project uses design historical methods to explore what the development and mediation of skills, aesthetics, concepts and images in the gay fetish world can tell us about broader changes in the socio-economic status of gay men in Europe and North America since the 1960s. More information about the project is available here.

Tom’s previous work examined histories of critical artistic design practice in the Soviet Union, which culminated in a monograph entitled Soviet Critical Design: Senezh Studio and the Communist Surround (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).

Since 2016, Tom has worked closely with education in the BA and MA programmes in design at HDK, and has been primarily responsible for implementing design studies within the curriculum.

Tom holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield, and an MA in History of Design from the Royal College of Art in London, where he has also worked as a visiting lecturer in the school of Critical and Historical Studies.


Josefine Wikström

Josefine Wikström is a researcher and art critic working on the intersection between cultural theory and post-Kantian philosophy with a particular focus on performance and dance within contemporary art. She is a Senior Lecturer in Dance Theory at Uniarts and also teaches regularly in Aesthetics at Södertörn Högskola. She completed her PhD-theses in Philosophy at the CRMEP in London in 2017 with the title Practices of Relations in Task-Dance and the Event-Score: Towards New concept of performance in art. She is the editor of Objects of Feminism (2017) together with Maija Timonen.


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