2 Alle dine kammerater fra skoletiden er flyttet i hus. Hvad gør du? A. Materielle goder interesserer mig ikke. B. Guerilla gardening?! C. Ved ikke. Din cykel er blevet stjålet, og du har ingen forsikring. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg stjæler en cykel. B. Jeg aflyser alle aftaler uden for zone 2 i HTområdet. C. Jeg tager chancen med S-toget.
3 I The life of a young art worker - art writers, artists and curators - is conditioned by several factors, one of the main being working conditions. In the last few years both in Denmark and beyond, the working conditions of art workers have been changing dramatically, and the 2008 crisis has emphasized how precariously situated cultural producers are in these changes. Working on temporary projects, raising your own funding, depending on invitations from curators and editors, and relying on an unpredictable art market and your networking skills make the art world a profession that puts its workers under pressure. Art workers internationally are questioning the consequences of this pressure and starting initiatives to change both the attitude and the national rules and regulations. Nevertheless, in a Danish context, little is known about how the precarious situation affects art workers, let alone young art workers and the conditions under which they work and live. How do recently educated art workers establish themselves as newcomers on the art scene? How do they negotiate between creating a career, maintaining a practice, and living a daily life with increasingly high living expenses? How do they navigate in an art scene with unwritten rules, little circulation of money, and the silent acceptance that working for free is for your own good, i.e. looks good on your CV? Being an organization fighting for the rights of young art workers, UKK Young Art Workers feels the need to start a discussion about the working conditions of young art workers. We have the impression that our members have an urge to articulate their situations and share it with others. And yet, we hear among our members a difficulty in articulating precisely how the working conditions affect their lives. There is a struggle in finding a way to productively act upon a working situation where private economy and career success is dependent on intimate matters such as personality, network, family, and educational background and on public matters such as policies, working norms, and funding opportunities. This publication is an attempt to start articulating some of the patterns and common situations of young art workers that the current working conditions have made them accustomed to. When we started our research we did not find information and material to inform us, so we quickly realized that we had to create it ourselves. Making a survey, building a set of questions and asking our members to answer them, was one way of starting the articulation, beginning with forming a more clear image of who we represent: who are our members? Under what conditions do they live and work? What is their main source of income? How are their norms of working relations? What is considered work? How does it relate to economic value? Does work mean that one is paid to do what one does? With this publication and survey we wish to address three groups: Danish art institutions and politicians, members of UKK, and international collaborators of UKK. Primarily, we want to question the current situation and ask if it has to be the way it is now. Can we do it differently? Can we change the attitude and possibly also the norms? Can we, all together, help to make future generations more protected? And how should this protection look? Can we find the limit for what is just and what is not?
4 II Before commenting on some of the main findings of the survey we want to turn our attention to the Danish context. UKK was created in 2002 in response to changes in the political landscape that threatened to de-stabilize the possibilities and milieus for the experimental art scene. Since then, the situation and working conditions have changed dramatically and young art workers - young art or the new - are paradoxically probably wanted more than ever. The unsettling element is that they do not get paid for what they do, which we find is related to two elements more or less specific to the Danish context: the welfare benefit system and the creative industries. Moving forward in the aforementioned order, the welfare benefit system has made it increasingly difficult to accommodate people working on temporary contracts, making it time consuming and essential to go in and out of the system. Young art workers often depend on the benefit system in the first few years after graduating as it is common to get paid next to nothing when starting up as an artist. One is supposed to be happy to have work shown or published and that happiness counts as payment. Increasing bureaucratic requirements while being on benefits has also prevented many from focusing on their career and job possibilities though the opposite was intended. Subsidized labor and internships were introduced more and more in order to help the unemployed find a contract, but instead it created a cheap solution for art institutions to obtain more staff. Today many museums and exhibition spaces depend on those temporary positions, and the reality is that they do not have the economy to open new positions. The economic crisis also brings the difficult situation to the fore in that there are fewer jobs for art workers both in and outside of the art scene. The focus on creative industries and the finding that art and culture generates money has changed the understanding of art as something exceptional into a self-reproductive norm that necessarily has to be there in a society. We want art in our society, but we want it to mainly serve society. Focus on audience numbers in opposition to experiment has forced art institutions to create blockbuster exhibitions rather than nurturing the new. With the creative industries also comes a management culture that values administration and branding and less content. Increasingly, this is the case in universities as well, where the tendency to apply for private funding also is becoming the norm, however, research shows that this tendency does not create successful scholars; on the contrary, they get stuck doing management and not research. Parallel to understanding art and culture as an industry, the art scene in Denmark has also experienced a professionalization and an internationalization. This change has had positive consequences, but it has not caused a greater awareness of the working conditions of art workers. Generally artists do not get paid for exhibiting their work nor do art writers for writing articles. On the contrary, our members bring us cases where they have been asked to pay to exhibit or publish. The change into an industry has opened the eyes for people wanting to make a business out of art and here the
5 Din ny svigerfar spørger, hvad du arbejder med. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg bliver fornærmet. B. Jeg parafraserer Marx. C. Jeg siger, at jeg i øjeblikket er på dagpenge. D. Jeg viser ham min produktion på hjemmesiden. E. Jeg lader som om jeg ikke hører spørgsmålet. Din frisør hæver prisen. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg lader håret vokse, hvad ellers? B. Jeg flytter til Bramming (hvor er det?). C. Jeg klipper det selv. D. Ingenting. Dine produktionspenge rækker alligevel ikke til materialer. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg bruger af honoraret. B. Jeg ringer til banken. C. Jeg ringer til mor. D. Jeg sælger mine lp er.
6 young and inexperienced seem to be attacked. For many young art workers the route to a stable income is not clear, they are confused about unspoken rules and habits in the art scene and are in need of front figures and paths to choose from that do not include endless years of working for free. III The UKK survey 2012 was created between autumn 2011 and April 2012 and was open for replies from 1 May to 3 June Answers were anonymous and the survey consisted of five parts: I. General information II. Income 2011 III. Working conditions IV. Membership UKK V. Your opinion We received 64 completed surveys from our 350 members. This low response was partially due to the fact that during the spring of 2012, UKK had a problem with its list, which was only confirmed and fixed a week before the deadline for completing the survey. Consequently, about 150 of our members actually got the chance to participate. While the 64 who answered do reflect the members in terms of their combination, this fact does not, however, make their answers representational of all the members and the results should rather be seen as a qualitative study of 64 young Danish art workers. The survey was made on the internet-based portal surveymonkey.com, whose logic and possibilities ultimately shaped the questions we asked. We had to bend questions in order to get coherent answers that could fit into easily readable diagrams. With the help of a sociologist throughout the process we learned that the survey format has limitations in that it copes best with answers that can become a model and copes less well with open questions. Nevertheless, we chose to include a last section of open questions because we wanted to hear the opinions of the members in their own words instead of just reducing them to numbers or percentages. All this taken into account makes it clear that the survey results are to be understood as a starting point for further investigation and not as definitive answers. We will now highlight three relevant components of the results: Who the UKK members are, what their source of income is and how it is distributed, and what constitutes their working conditions in terms of working norms. UKK members: The UKK members who answered are mainly in their 30 s, 2/3 are women and the majority is artists. They live for the most part in Copenhagen and otherwise in the regions of Denmark and Scandinavia, as well as in Berlin. Out of 63 answers (one opted not to list income range), 16 have an income of up till DKK ( USD), 27 from till DKK ( USD), and 11 from
7 till ( USD). The most common media they work with are installation art, video, text and research. Mentioned reasons for being a member are: that they have been part of the organization since the beginning feeling sympathy for its cause, that it is the only organization that combines artists and academics, that it is the only organization focusing on the experimental part of the art scene, that it is a way to show and feel solidarity, and that they want to support the political work of UKK. The 9 most popular activities of UKK are: representing the interests of UKK in the Danish Arts Council, writing statements, lobbying, representing UKK in the Danish Council for Artists (Dansk Kunstnerråd), organizing talks and seminars, facilitating UKK s own working groups (Fagudvalg og Arbejdsgrupper), representing UKK in the committee that buys art for the municipality of Copenhagen, advocating experimental art, and writing letters to the editor. Even though a few of the 64 are older than 50 and earn more than DKK we can conclude that most are entering the art scene and are in the process of establishing themselves as art writers, artists, and curators. Income: One of the main sources of income is for 35 out of 63 a stable job contract (one opted not to list income range), which 24 found related to their art practice. Even though exhibiting should be the most obvious source of income for an artist, very little of the income comes from exhibition fees. Instead, it comes from activities around the artistic practice of art making itself such as teaching and talks. Very few live from selling art works and those who sell do it primarily through their own contacts and not through galleries. 41 out of 53 applied for the Danish Arts Council in 2011 (11 opted not to answer), mainly for funding for the production of art works (26 out of 41), exhibition of foreign art in Denmark (12 out of 41), exhibition of Danish art abroad (12 out of 41), and for webpage construction for artists (11 out of 41). Even though a large amount applied for the Danish Arts Council, 14 out of 34 answered that they received only 0-5% of their total income from it, 6 received 6-10% and 5 received 11-15%. The Danish Arts Council thus made up a relatively small amount of their income. Working norms and relations: Regarding habits of collaboration, exchange, working for free, and payment, we can see that different attitudes apply. Some find it OK to work for free at this state in their career if it makes them move forward. Their attitude is thus related to the development and to their position in their career. Some find it OK to work for free or to exchange favors among peers, but not when an institution is asking for their work. Some are willing to do a lot as long as it expands their network ( Network - friendship is my capital ), whereas others find it exploitative that institutions depend on internships, free work, and subsidized labor ( It hardly pays my bills ). Some ask for regulations so that it is clear what the free labor gives in return of skills and knowledge. A majority supports the use of contracts, especially when dealing with institutions, and finds them a proper way of verbalizing expectations. To sum up, we can see that young art workers combine their income from a patchwork of sources and that they work on temporary projects more or less related to their art practice with more or less payment because of the need of moving forward in their
8 Du er indkaldt til møde i a-kassen. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg lyver om, at jeg har søgt et job hos Dansk Supermarked. B. Jeg opgiver den kunstneriske løbebane midlertidigt. C. Jeg opgiver den kunstneriske løbebane permanent. D. Jeg fortæller, at jeg har fået et 10-timers undervisningsjob. Dit barn skal på lejrskole. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg køber et telt og nogle nye sko og en sovepose. B. Jeg efterlyser udstyr gennem venner på facebook. C. Jeg spørger, om det ikke er sjovere at blive hjemme hos mor og far i weekenden. Du fylder 40. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg booker et festlokale og hyrer en kok. B. Jeg inviterer de nærmeste til et sammenskudsgilde. C. Jeg rejser langt væk på et arbejdsophold. D. Jeg benægter fakta og fjerner fødselsdatoen fra facebook.
9 career and because they get something out of it professionally. One of the challenges in the future will therefore be to implement a higher degree of payment and use of contract in art institutional working relations. This request goes especially to one of the three groups we are addressing with this survey, Danish art institutions and politicians. We hear that there is a misuse of the free will among young art workers and that the limit of exploitation is blurred. It should be defined. What is just and not just in a project society of creative industries should be articulated and defined in order to avoid exploitation. To discuss and productively develop the art scene, the members of UKK can help heighten the awareness of the just when practically coping with the use of contracts, and the international collaborators of UKK can help bring in new and solid solutions for consideration in our situation. There are many more challenges to confront, which a further dialogue between all parts ideally will accommodate. IIII To better the working conditions for young art workers we need to work politically on a local level and to be informed and inspired by developments on an international level. Therefore, this folder will be launched in a seminar about working conditions on an international scale (in the moment of writing this seminar yet has to take place). The seminar will bring insights and questions from international contributors to broaden the perspective of our local, Danish situation. Participants are Arts and Labor (New York), Carrotworkers Collective (London), Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes (Chile) and openhagen (Copenhagen). In bringing together artistic and institutional perspectives from very different contexts we wish to develop the concerns we share despite geo-political differences. To equip our survey and this folder with other perspectives concerning the working conditions of art workers, writer Lene Asp (Copenhagen) contributes with a series of intimate, economic questions that young art workers are sometimes confronted with. They appear throughout in speech bubbles. Cultural researcher and activist Jaron Rowan (Barcelona) contributes with reflections on the creative industries and the emergence of the cultural entrepreneur. He unfolds how the personal and collective is brought into conflict when the discourse and enactment of the creative industries focus on subject-branding and individual talent and skill even though most creative practices are brought about through a collective endeavor. In the mid section you will find quotations from the open questions in the survey and a selection of diagrams picturing the results of the survey. We have left their meaning open for interpretation and further dialogue.
16 because i see myself as a Danish artist, but also an international curator, i am considering to sign up for the BBK artist union in Germany also, because i want to be a member of KSK, social insurance for artists in Germany. I would still keep my membership of UKK, to support the organisation FOR THE POSITIVE KOMBINATION OF ACADEMIA AND ARTISTRY Solidarity Because ukk fights for non commercial artist survival. partly working as a handicap-assistant and teacher in fine arts I do small projects wich last from few days and up to few weeks at a time and are paid by the hour rengøring om natten og forskeligt teknikerjops alt på del/lånt tidits important cause they are much more concern about those who really struggle! art hosting i call it, it is very close to the work of a turist guide, but i insist it comes out of an artists sensibility and insight. but nothing near what they should have been paid. Mostly symbolic IT WAS AN EQUAL COLLABORATION WITH OTHER ARTISTS man hjælper hinanden my producer takes care of that or I do with smaller projects but museums are absolutely horible with contracts it takes forever to get one, if they ever give you one not in 2011 but I preffere to have a contract and have tried to get one for more projects in 2011 with no succes.- state institutions! All via A-kassen. Mostly pro forma. really hope there are other activities than this! most and only importance to me is improving legal rights, contracts, salarys for artists. i had to pick one of the above to move on in this survey... improving artists rights (f.ex. that the working scholarships from the state are being considered as work... and not a gift... if that not is work... then what is?... when you are an experimental /performance artist? if you want to change the world we have to do it together, and forget for moment our own practice. derudover er der mange ældre kunstnere, der sidder i råd og som er ude af trit med udviklingen af den nye og internationale kunst. det er vigtigt, at ukk repræsenterer det nye og det uafhængige/ikke-institutionelle (det er nemlig ikke repræsenteret særlig mange steder). og så er det et af de eneste steder, hvor kunstformidlere kan være med i en målrette politisk organisation, der kæmper for deres rettigheder - som er lige så dårlige, hvis ikke dårligere, som kunstneres, når man arbejder som uafhængig. I like the idea of being united :-) I am a new member. I am curious, an interested in an organization that works for art practitioners rights. Maybe im to old to support the work for better conditions for my colleague art workers - even when I m not working directly with art today. I work with design projects in a design agency Because your spokes person (when presenting UKK at the academy) said it would be IMBERRESING not to be : ) it is importent to be a member because contemporay art is importent
17 IT IS ALRIGHT WORKING FOR FREE IF YOU DO COLLABORATIONS WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES AND IT IS NON PROFIT PROJECTS. Internships can be useful in order to get to know a particular field or practice, and working for free on my own projects is also okay (but would prefer to be able to pay myself) Jeg er egentlig imod gratis arbejde, og vil helst have penge for det arbejde jeg laver. Men for det meste kan man ikke forvente at blive betalt for at være med på en udstilling. It s ok for nonprofit organisations othervise not I am very fortunate to receive lifelong grant from the danish state. Even though the sum is fairly small and regulated by other income, l am gratefull and don t mind working for free. Without such grant, working for no fee is abuse of the artist! For a free art we are working for free I don t mind working for free if I choose to - I recent the fact that many institutions expect artists to work for free! Det er også en slags gratis arbejde kun at få kr for en stor udstilling på xxx! Det burde være kr. Basically I m against it, but if I gain something in return (i.e. exhibitions, network,, fun and experience) I am ready to accept it at this stage in my career. Network - frindship is my capital As a curator, I always pay the artists before I pay myself, which usually results in me not getting payed. DON T LIKE NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE S CONTRIBUTIONS. ALWAYS GO OUT OF MY WAY TO THANK PEOPLE PUBLICLY AND AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE Honorar og ordnede forhold giver større seriøsitet og et godt udgangspunkt for et samarbejde. I have never paid anyone for their work/participation, but I ve always tried to give them something in return - repaying the favour by working on their project for instance. I m proud when I generate money for my colegues Only oral agreements Hos kunstnere: Det er generelt godt, men det kunne være fint med nogle kodekser for hvad de skal have ud af det, så vi kunstnere sørger for at give noget igen. Hos institutioner er det dybt problematisk at de er afhængige af at ansætte pratikanter og løntilskudsfolk. Vi har folk i løntilskud, og ganske som md praktikanter er det en god idé, hvis og så fremt institutionen er sig sit sociale ansvar bevidst, og personen i løntilskud opnår nye kompetencer der kan styrke ham/hende i det videre arbejdsliv. Jeg synes ikke der er optimalt at være på dagpenge og ville gerne kunne tjene flere penge på det kunstarbejde jeg laver, men har lidt svært ved at finde ud af hvordan det kan lade sig gøre, som min situation er lige nu. It s getting better except from at galleries and museums It is higly critical in this very visual culture that art is not a natural subject in schools, newspapers, tv etc! Jeg klarer mig fint nu, efter 10 års kamp. Men det er ofte at kunstinstitutioner betaler dårligst. Jeg tjener mest ved at søge private og ikke specifikke kunst fonde. YOU GUYS ROCK! Why do I have to make thise answers in English??? We have to stand of for our individual rights collectively!...
18 Du har begyndende paradentose. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg gifter mig med en tandlæge. B. Ingenting. C. Jeg søger et arbejdslegat. D. Jeg børster tænder flere gange om dagen. Du har skimmelsvamp i lejligheden. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg lufter ud hele tiden. B. Kan den mon tilberedes? C. Jeg maler lejligheden med skibsmaling, som jeg har fået gratis. Du skal på barsel men har ikke dagpengeret. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg kontakter alle de forlag, jeg kan komme i tanke om, for at finde ud af, om de ikke mangler en børnebogsillustrator. B. Jeg får en abort. C. Jeg går i panik og tegner små kruseduller på post-its. D. Jeg flytter ind på mit gamle værelse hos mine forældre. Du skal spare op til pension. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg håber på det livsvarige. B. Jeg forestiller mig, at jeg kan fortsætte som yogalærer som 70-årig. C. Jeg går ikke på pension! D. Jeg sætter 7% af mine indtægter ind på en opsparing. E. Ved ikke. Du skal til møde i banken, og din rådgiver har bedt dig om en kopi af årsopgørelsen. Hvad gør du? A. Jeg pynter på den i Photoshop. B. Jeg laver nogle flere lønsedler til mig selv. C. Græder. D. Jeg siger at alle mine aktiver pt er investeret i kunst, hvorfor skulle jeg ellers bede om et lån! E. Jeg sender dokumentet og krydser fingre.
19 I Would Rather Not: or the Need to Challenge Cultural Entrepreneurship In the following article I intend to make visible a conflict that is currently affecting the cultural field, in which self-organized forms of work, informal networks and individual artists have been prompted to transform themselves into small enterprises following certain schemes and models that have little or nothing to do with the ways in which cultural production usually operates. I will show how this encouragement of cultural entrepreneurship leads to at least three serious problems that we must address: a) it individualizes collective creativity, b) it rests on a basis of precarious and non-paid work and, c) it constitutes a serious menace to what I will define as the cultural commons. In the following pages I will discuss some of the issues and their repercussions for contemporary cultural work. The first schemes and programmes aimed at promoting cultural entrepreneurship coincided with the growth of neo-liberalism in the Western world. This ideology, that challenges the role of the State and its ability to guarantee the fundamental right of access to culture, introduced the idea that the production and distribution of culture should take place following market rules. In this sense a number of discourses were put into place that started describing culture as an economic asset or resource and no longer as a right (Yúdice 2004). Because of this, since the early eighties a series of subjects and practices that had functioned under a different logic, based more on collective work and networks of trust and friendship, were suddenly encouraged to become enterprises. To capture the value generated by these social pools, the government established copyright as the most effective tool in order to transform knowledge into economic returns. These were the first steps and measures that lead to the creation of the so called Creative Industries, defined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the United Kingdom government as: those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent which have a potential for job and wealth creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. 1 If we look at this definition two relevant issues arise. First, we notice how the notion of individual creativity is introduced through a focus on individual skill and talent, which excludes forms of collective- or commons based creativity. Secondly, intellectual property (a method of privatization or enclosure of knowledge) is imposed as the way to extract value from creativity. These two points set out a very specific agenda and define the economic models that constitute the creative industries. In this sense, this prescriptive definition helps to shape and make understood most of the schemes aimed at promoting creative entrepreneurship and all the models imposed on budding enterprises by public organizations and schemes. One can argue, following the ideas put forward by some post-autonomist authors (for instance Maurizio Lazzarato, Anthony Negri and Poul Virno), that the whole project of the creative industries is devised to define, enclose and extract the wealth generated by social production, that is, forms of production that exceed the office, the factory or the lab. Creativity has always been a collective endeavor: music seeks inspiration from other music, novels feed from other novels and art discovers itself through art. Sampling, sharing and paraphrasing are essential elements to understand how creativity takes place. Cities, networks, and communities are all places where ideas are spread, transformed and re-mixed. In this sense, the creative
20 industries were born to pool from these common flows of creativity. They promote the capture of these ideas that later become branded and sold as pieces of individual creativity. The promotion of entrepreneurship seeks to establish these processes of capture as legitimate ways of extracting value from these social pools. Artists and creative subjects must function as enterprises that follow market rules. However, we must remember that the idea of society as an entity composed of a myriad of enterprises and self-enterprises that interact together following market laws is one of the greatest achievements of neoliberal ideology. In his lectures on the Birth of Biopolitics at the Collège de France, French philosopher Michel Foucault engaged with the history of liberalism in order to identify the main discourses and events that gave birth to neo-liberalism as we now know it. Among them we see the progressive growth of the so-called homo economicus, the subject that acts as an enterprise following market dynamics, maximizing his individual benefits and seeking in every moment to transform his assets (social capital, knowledge, skills) into wealth. When this same logic is transferred onto the cultural sphere we see how agents start to think of themselves as enterprises, which implies the need to privatize oneself, to turn one s personal experiences into a set of assets, and finally to exploit the ideas and trends that have been produced collectively and privatize them. This model not only provides a route for artists, designers, developers or film-makers to follow, but also produces individualized subjectivities in an arena traditionally shaped by collective work. It is in this context in which we understand the emergence of brand-subjects, that is, artists and cultural producers who work constantly and invest their efforts to enhance their brand value. These subjects inhabit social networks (virtual and physical) where they must constantly be visible; attention becomes opportunity in this context. The brand cannot rest; it must be able to perform and mediate in every single moment. Work and leisure become inextricably linked, the brand-subject must attend openings, twitter its success and be able to capture its peers attention. Following Paolo Virno s (2003) insights, the creative subject becomes an opportunist waiting to promote him- or herself at any moment. The discourses that promote entrepreneurship are based on the assumption that this entrepreneurial model is the best way to sustain cultural production economically. A number of figures and documents have been produced in order to show the economic possibilities of the creative industries, but these figures have been seriously challenged. Kate Oakley, in her study Not so cool Britannia: the role of the creative industries in economic development (2004), has clearly shown how most of these estimates have never been confirmed, and in many cases there is evidence that proves them wrong. In this sense, another interesting document to look into was put forward in 2007 by Alan Freeman of the Greater London Authority. Freeman questions some of the figures generated by the DCMS by showing how creative accounting works, and thereby how the figures can be easily challenged because growth expectations become mixed with actual figures. Also, in 2011 The Work Foundation (a British not-for-profit organization, which gives advice about the future of work) published a paper showing how the creative industries have been seriously affected by the current economic downturn, proving that this sector is not as resilient as first thought. 2 These reports help us see that not everything is as glossy as it seems in the