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Monday January 12th: Business as Unusual and Beyond — A Discussion on Office Work, Self-Organisation and Marketisation

January 6, 2009

Monday January 12th 7-9pm
62 Fieldgate St.,
Whitechapel E1 1ES

Lead by Peter Conlin


From Peter:

To introduce the topic by way of personal motivations: In many ways I came to art, like so many, as a way out of a deeply utilitarian society, that denounced anything not economically viable or part of conventional social order as worthless. But predictably, I soon became frustrated with many true believers in aesthetics who were oblivious to institutional contexts and social conditions that made their art practices possible. By refusing easy-going reconciliations, I entered into the seemingly perpetual tensions between culture and administration. So what was beyond the divide of ‘art for art-sake’ and ‘business is business’ other than denial or a vast array of dubious rapprochements (institutional critique art, theorists of ‘creative’ management and UK creative economy policy consultants)?

I shifted emphasis from art-making to looking at how culture functions in organisations—which was really a way into a nexus of practices, communities, aesthetics and economics; and in so doing posed these questions in a new way: can we organise without managing? What does it mean when something is run like a business? I began to sort through the similarities and differences between self-organisation (both in sense of ‘autonomous spaces’ and the formation of subjectivities) and so called post-bureaucratic organization. What is the language to describe collective initiative beyond enterprise?
If organisational forms are solutions, why not shift back to the problem?

Three short excerpts of texts for this session:
Jim McGuigan, ‘Rethinking Cultural Policy’, 2004.
Raymond Williams, ‘Culture’, 1981.
Stephan Dillemuth, Anthony Davies and Jakob Jakobsen, “There is no alternative: THE FUTURE IS SELF-ORGANISED”, 2005

Please see Temp Text Links above for PDFs


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