Lecture: Bojana Kunst – The Labour of the Performance Artist
Baltic Circle 17.11.2016 Helsinki
Moderator: Simo Kellokumpu
The inviting working group: Jonas Welander (LUST), Anni Klein (W A U H A U S), Johannes Ekholm, Aune Kallinen (TEAK), Hanna Helavuori (TINFO)
In collaboration with Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki and Lust rf.
Supported by: Goethe-Institut Finnland
Working in Germany, Bojana Kunst is one of the most central theorists considering the relationship between art and capitalism. We wanted to invite her to Baltic Circle to widen the discussion taking place in the Central European dance and performance scene on the changing nature of work, and on the artist as a “model for the new labourer”, and to bring this discussion to Finland.
“The proximity of the art and capitalism was in the last years analyzed especially from the perspective of proximity between artistic work and postfordist work, where artist is seen as a model for contemporary worker, because of her linguistic and creative skills, which are in the center of contemporary exploitation. However the reason for the proximity lies not only in the social transformation of work (with creativity in the centre of production) but can be related strongly to the material quality of the artistic labour: there is something in the inclination, weight, temporality and materiality of the artistic work which is causing this proximity between artistic labour and contemporary modes of work. Artist is not only a model for contemporary worker because of his or her (super) creativity, precarious position and diminishing of the life/work relation, but something else is here at stake. I would like to show in my lecture how the artistic labour became visible again because there is so much stupid, idiotic, wasteful, repetitive, passive work in the core of contemporary capitalism, which continuously has to produce value from even the most meaningless and useless labouring gestures to sustain itself.”
Bojana Kunst is a philosopher, dramaturg and performance theoretician. She is a professor at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Justus Liebig University Giessen, where she is leading the international master’s programme Choreography and Performance. She is a member of the editorial board of Maska Magazine, Amfiteater and Performance Research. Her latest book is called Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism (2015).