Monday, March 17, 2014

Exhausted Duck


I just started a new job on top of my other jobs so today I feel like that limp piece of lettuce that is stuck between those other sandwich parts.  I have to get this schedule thing better so that there is actually some time to thinky think.

This is my prelude to this cribbed post today.  Sorry, hopefully next week I will be a real art girl again.

There is one thing that caught my little eye though this past week and that is an essay by Jan Verwoert called Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform, 2008.  I was reminded of this essay by another essay by Agatha Wara for Dis called Duck Theory.  This is for Dis’ DISown which is artists making things to sell at Red Bull’s studio in NYC.  I don’t really :/ the DISown project but Wara’s essay is super tight and it makes the project have a validation I would have never warranted otherwise. 

Anyways… Read Wara, read Verwoert.  If you’re working the grind and have monopolized time then you will get them both and think about them both and neither will change anything but it will make you feel like maybe there is some sort of collectivized something.

Duck Theory, 2014 by Agatha Wara

To live today as an artist means to find oneself in constant negotiation with neoliberal capitalist systems.

I’m sitting in a plane. The cheapest ticket I could find. Burning fuel, no doubt, acquired through some agreement many years prior that allowed for oil drilling off the coast of Norway. Getting closer to New York and turning paleo-material into forward propulsion.

This is the nature of all of our decisions, between what we know is–let’s call it “complicated”–and what will get us enough money to pay the rent. Our lives are deeply enmeshed in complicated networks of capital. In a globalized post-internet free market art works too negotiate the terms of their manifestation, in ways that are both personal and impersonal. En route to becoming objects of special status, artworks journey through email chains, agreements, approvals, handshakes, toasts, and the assorted steps of production, from the sourcing of raw materials to the transport via ships, planes, and trucks.

Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform, 2008 by Jan Verwoert

The Pressure to Perform

How can we address the current changes in our societies and lives? Some say that we have come to inhabit the post-industrial condition —but what does that mean? One thing seems certain: after the disappearance of manual labour from the lives of most people in the Western world, we have entered into a culture where we no longer just work, we perform. We need to perform because that is what’s asked of us. When we choose to make our living on the basis of doing what we want, we are required to get our act together and get things done, in any place, at any time. Are you ready? I ask you and I’m sure that you’re as ready as you’ll ever be to perform, prove yourself, do things and go places.

Who is we? The group is ever-expanding. It is we, the creative types—who invent jobs
for ourselves by exploring and exploiting our talents to perform small artistic and intellectual miracles on a daily basis. It is we, the socially engaged—who create communal spaces for others and ourselves by performing as instigators or facilitators of social exchange. When we perform, we generate communication and thereby build forms of communality.1 When we perform, we develop ideas and thereby provide the content for an economy based on the circulation of a new currency: information. In doing so, we produce the social and intellectual capital that service societies thrive on today, in the so-called Information Age. Accordingly, the Deutsche Bank sums up their corporate philosophy with the slogan A Passion to Perform. (The motto is symptomatically
agrammatical: in English, someone can be said to have a passion for something or
someone, but not a passion to.)2 Management consultants confirm that “implementing, promoting and sustaining a high performance culture” is the key to increasing corporate
productivity by eliciting individual commitment and competitiveness among employees.3
So which side of the barricades are we on? Where do they stand today anyway? When do we commit to perform of our own free will? And when is our commitment elicited under
false pretenses to enforce the ideology of high performance and boost someone else’s profits? How can we tell the difference? And who is there to blame, if we choose to
exploit ourselves?