Cass ART: Lecture by Stevphen Shukaitis
‘Follow your passion’ is a common piece of advice, a near cliché, circulating in discussions of life and labour today. In that phrase lies a much longer shift in labour politics, moving from a refusal of work to its embrace: a transformation predicated on the potentials of creativity and artistic labour.
Indeed, work embraced for creative fulfilment doesn't even feel like work at times. But with the rise of the creative class; demand for ‘free labour’ in the cultural sphere and a transformation of the metropolis through culture-led urban planning, we’re also witnessing the more ambivalent, perhaps darker side of a formerly utopian drive to integrate creative work and everyday life.
Is a politics of labour possible when one’s life and work are so intertwined? What forms could the self-organisation of cultural work take that don't immediately fall prey to that possessive individualism of being concerned only with one’s own practice, which tends to block off discussions of collective conditions?
Stevphen Shukaitis is a senior lecturer at the University of Essex, Centre for Work and Organisation, and a member of the Autonomedia editorial collective. Since 2009 he has edited Minor Compositions and is the author of Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions of Everyday Day (2009, Autonomedia). Stevphen is editor of (with Erika Biddle and David Graeber) Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations/Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007).
His research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social movements and the changing compositions of cultural and artistic labour.
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