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Representations of Labour

Time: 20 November 2010, 10 am - 6 pm
Place: Iaspis, Konstnärsnämnden, Maria skolgata 83, 2 tr
Language: English

- A series of seminars on art and labour
Seminar#1 - Representations of Labour

20 November 2010, 10 am - 6 pm

What is the image of work? How and by whom has this image been produced? What are the means of production involved in artistic representations of workers, workers movements and the workplace? What are the theoretical and practical chal¬lenges in these representations? How is the role of the artist presented and what kind of “worker” is the artist? The seminar addresses what work is and has been through experi¬ences of work and questions concerning migration, economy, class and technology.


Participants include: Annika Eriksson (artist, Berlin), Kirsten Forkert (artist/researcher, London), Ingela Johansson (artist, London), Stefan Jonsson (writer, Stockholm), Maria Lind (curator, Stockholm), Sarat Maharaj (writer/curator, London/Malmo), Pratchaya Phinthong (artist, Bangkok), Joanna Sokolowska (curator, Lodz), Nina Svensson (artist, Stockholm).

Please RSVP to Iaspis Project Manager Jonatan Habib Engqvist,


10:00 Registration and coffee

10:15 Introduction by Cecilia Widenheim and Michele Masucci

10:30-11:20 Kirsten Forkert: Neoliberalism, the property bubble and the time and space to make art
Forkert will focus on a particular irony of culture's relationship to neoliberalism: how the freedom, glamour and self-sacrifice associated with the artist's lifestyle have become implicated in developments (including gentrification and policies that champion artists as ideal entrepreneurs).

11:40-12:00 Intervention by Adina Bradeanu: The working-class of the film industry - on professional identity and documentary practice in a Romanian film studio

12:10-12:30 Ingela Johansson & Nina Svensson present A Sense of Solidarity
The artists have initiated a long term collaboration on questions about the Swedish trade union movements´ relation to art and social democratic cultural politics, focusing on the role of the artist in different structures. Presentation of a work in progress, about culture’s potential to mobilize social movement with example from the mining strike 1969/70.

12:30 Summary and moderated discussion Joanna Sokolowska and Jonatan Habib Engqvist

13 – 13:40 Lunch

13:40 – 14:20 Curating Work Maria Lind and Stefan Jonsson in conversation about the cases of Atelier Europa (Kunstverein München 2004), Taking the Matter Into Common Hands (Iaspis 2005-2007) and What Is the Good of Work? (CCS Bard and Goethe Institut, New York 2009-2010)

14:20 – 14:40 Annika Eriksson: Place of Work/You Are What You Do. Presentation of the projects Copenhagen Postmen’s Orchestra (1996), Arbeitswelt (2003) and Wir sind wieder da (2010)

14:40 – 15:00 Pratchaya Phintong presents a residency at CAC Brétigny Center for Contemporary Art in Paris that eventually took place during the berrypicking season in the North of Sweden.


15:30 – 16:20 Sarat Maharaj: World Factory. Joblessness. Indolence: work in a time of ‘creativity fever’.
Mapping today’s distribution of work across the North/South divide — the unequal, uneven drifts between the manufacturing Hardware Factory to the Ideas Factory in the grey matter economy, between Uddevala, Volvo experiments in ‘humanising’ work through to the ‘alienating’ Toyota mean regimes of the World Factory belt from India through the South East Asia corridor to South China.
Various states of work are explored: shiftlessness, graft, jobbing, ’creative labour’, ‘creative industries’, the stretched out work/leisure 24-hour laptop-regime and the like. What of the ‘utopian’ ideal of the ‘shortening of the work day’, of emancipation from work – of its the abolition?  
Why ‘work’ as central to defining the objectives of ‘human life’?  Is this captivity to a ‘productivist logic’ that led Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism) to brush aside the labour of the Khoi-Khoi of South Africa and other pre-modern societies?
How to think of non-work beyond work, the world of non-accumulation, spontaneous emergence, sportive activity and play (Sanskrit: Lila/Karma) – and the significance of what John Keats called ‘ honey-steeped indolence’?

16:30 - 18:00 Summary and moderated discussion Michele Masucci and Cecilia Widenheim


The program is curated by Michele Masucci (artist), Annika Enqvist, Cecilia Widenheim and Jonatan Habib Engqvist (Iaspis) and takes place at Iaspis in relation to the exhibition Image at Work produced by XpoSeptember in collaboration with Index, The Romanian Culture Institute in Stockholm and Moderna Museet. All seminars take place at Iaspis, Maria skolgata 83, Stockholm.

For further information see  or contact Iaspis Project Manager Jonatan Habib Engqvist,


Updated: 2010-11-18 Tell a friend


Mladen Stilinovic, from the series Chinese Business, 2009


Mladen Stilinovic, from the series Chinese Business, 2009


Mladen Stilinovic,  from the series Chinese Business, 2009

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