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Performative Talk and Discussion with Kuba Szreder

Free and Open to All. Proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test is required.

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Gather in the James Gallery for a talk by Kuba Szreder concerning the precarious conditions of artistic labour followed by an open discussion about cultural resistance created and practiced by gig-economy workers, “the projectariat,” in Szreder’s words. The artistic projectariat--people who do projects to make a living--roam the global art world, where enthusiasm is paired with exclusion, mobility with poverty, self-entrepreneurialism with anxiety. The evening's discussion will be opened by Greg Sholette.

Szreder will dissect the ups and downs of this unpredictable existence in the fitting form of an aleatoric performance, following a random selection of entries from his recent book The ABC of the Projectariat. Starting with “A is for Aftermath (of the pandemic),” and concluding with “Y is for You are Not Alone,” this handbook addresses both a daily grind of projectarians (discussed in entries such as “A is for Applications” and “D is for Deadlines”) and systemic conditions of their labour, a harsh reality of winner-take-all economy, structurally marked by competition and exclusion.

His analysis of opportunism, neoliberalism, inequality, fear and cynicism at the root of the condition of the projectariat is paired with a practical account of different modes of action, such as productive withdrawals, better social time machines, para-institutional work, and mutual support. Just as proletarians had nothing to lose but their chains, the projectarians have nothing to miss but their deadlines!

The ABC of the projectariat: living and working in a precarious art world (Whitworth and Manchester University Press, 2021) is available from Manchester University Press.

Co-organized by the James Gallery, SPCUNY and Polish Cultural Institute