Inside

Adam J B Walker

MPhil work

Critique / Subvert / Undermine?:
 Strategies and Methodologies for Art(-)work Within Platform Capitalism.

I undertake performative interventions in public space, revealing and questioning the contextual enmeshment of myself (the person and ‘the artist’) in opaque, unavoidable structures of labour, of hierarchy, of autonomy, of value. A series of remote artworks (sometimes documenting or responding to these interventions) are released: linguistic, relational, digital. They are uncontrolled and unmediated; anarchic in the contexts in which they might fleetingly exist.

The ‘artistic work’ in the ‘artwork’ is conceptual; is linguistic, ; is performative; is flexible.

The social and economic positioning of the artist is conceptual; is linguistic; is performative; is flexible.

Through this practice-led research I explore the collapsing together of labour and identity within emergent platform capitalism. Drawing on extensive literature on post-Fordism, affective labour and autonomist marxist theory, I set out an argument for Srnicek’s (2017) concept of platform capitalism being considered a qualitatively new paradigm. With dematerialised forms of artistic practice (including my own) increasingly mirroring their platform capitalist context in linguistic relationality, in technological and economic enablement and in valued and devalued component forms of labour, a lack of criticality in addressing socio-economic foundations is apparent.

From this problematic starting point of complicity, the research centres around two overlapping questions:

How might reiterative cycles of labour-identity re-construction and re- presentation within platform capitalism be reconsidered, challenging presumed givens of what is deemed meaningful or valuable?

How might artistic practice engage without replicating; what can a practice of inevitable complicity offer in terms of critique of the structure of which it is part?

Via practice and writing; strategies, methodologies and positions of artistic labour-identity are developed which acknowledge and engage critically in their platform capitalist context, prising open a self-reflective fissure of critical distance. Gielen (2015), observes how the 20th century artistic avant-garde can be seen as having prefigured forms of labour that have become dominant under post-Fordism. As we transition into a platform capitalist regime, I at the very least look to present forms of artistic labour-identity that do not likewise prefigure it, and might just form a basis for effective critique.

References:
Gielen, P. (2015) The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude Amsterdam: Valiz. Srnicek, N. (2017) Platform Capitalism. New York: Polity.

Adam J B Walker December 2017 

Info

  • MPhil

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    Contemporary Art Practice, 2017–

  • Critique / Subvert / Undermine?:
 Strategies and Methodologies for Art(-)work Within Platform Capitalism.

    I undertake performative interventions in public space, revealing and questioning the contextual enmeshment of myself (the person and ‘the artist’) in opaque, unavoidable structures of labour, of hierarchy, of autonomy, of value. A series of remote artworks (sometimes documenting or responding to these interventions) are released: linguistic, relational, digital. They are uncontrolled and unmediated; anarchic in the contexts in which they might fleetingly exist.

    The ‘artistic work’ in the ‘artwork’ is conceptual; is linguistic, ; is performative; is flexible.

    The social and economic positioning of the artist is conceptual; is linguistic; is performative; is flexible.

    Through this practice-led research I explore the collapsing together of labour and identity within emergent platform capitalism. Drawing on extensive literature on post-Fordism, affective labour and autonomist marxist theory, I set out an argument for Srnicek’s (2017) concept of platform capitalism being considered a qualitatively new paradigm. With dematerialised forms of artistic practice (including my own) increasingly mirroring their platform capitalist context in linguistic relationality, in technological and economic enablement and in valued and devalued component forms of labour, a lack of criticality in addressing socio-economic foundations is apparent.

    From this problematic starting point of complicity, the research centres around two overlapping questions:

    How might reiterative cycles of labour-identity re-construction and re- presentation within platform capitalism be reconsidered, challenging presumed givens of what is deemed meaningful or valuable?

    How might artistic practice engage without replicating; what can a practice of inevitable complicity offer in terms of critique of the structure of which it is part?

    Via practice and writing; strategies, methodologies and positions of artistic labour-identity are developed which acknowledge and engage critically in their platform capitalist context, prising open a self-reflective fissure of critical distance. Gielen (2015), observes how the 20th century artistic avant-garde can be seen as having prefigured forms of labour that have become dominant under post-Fordism. As we transition into a platform capitalist regime, I at the very least look to present forms of artistic labour-identity that do not likewise prefigure it, and might just form a basis for effective critique.

    References:
    Gielen, P. (2015) The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude Amsterdam: Valiz. Srnicek, N. (2017) Platform Capitalism. New York: Polity.

    Adam J B Walker December 2017 

  • Degrees

  • MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, 2016; BA (Hons) Fine Art: Painting, Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London, 2011; BA (Hons) Geography, University of Cambridge, 2006
  • Experience

  • SWAP UK/Ukraine residency, British Council Ukraine / Liverpool Biennial, Kyiv (Ukraine), 2017; Changing Play residency (with Emma McGarry), Serpentine Gallery, London, 2017; Research residency (with Emma McGarry), Camden Arts Centre, London, 2016; Paradox residency, Poznan University of the Arts, Poznan (Poland), 2015; AIR Caledonian Road residency, AIR / Central St, Martins, London, 2013; Park in Progress residency, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 2012
  • Exhibitions

  • TOMBOLA! (with Vicki Thornton), Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Kyiv (Ukraine), 2017; Art Feast, Skelf Site / Art Licks Weekend, Online, 2017; Let Me Hear You Click You Say Yeah No!, Skelf Site, Online, 2016; Parallax II, Chelsea College of Arts, London, 2016; It Will Be Okay (with Emma McGarry), Camden Arts Centre, London, 2016; No Nothing Salon, Chelsea College of Arts, London, 2016; Kar-a-sutra (as Donuts artist group), Fig-2 / Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2015; Paradox, UP Gallery, Berlin, 2015; Paradox, Centrum Kultury Zamek, Poznan (Poland), 2015; Structure Texture Future, Nunnery Gallery, London, 2015; We Forgot the Lot, Tate Britain, London, 2014; Vorkurs, Vulpes Vulpes / Standpoint Gallery, London, 2014; Project Visible, Tate Modern, London, 2013; Watershed, Tate Modern, London, 2013; Park in Progress, Nottingham Castle, Nottingham, 2012; Two and a Half Dimensions, Pangolin, London, 2011