[artinfo] Launching the ArtLeaks Gazette - Call for Papers

e-artnow info at e-artnow.org
Tue Sep 25 11:54:15 CEST 2012

Launching the ArtLeaks Gazette (Call for Papers)


<mailto:artsleaks at gmail.com>artsleaks at gmail.com
Corina Apostol
Phone: +17324218623
Fax: +17329328201

Art Leaks
71 Hamilton Street
New Brunswick 08901

Deadline: December 31st 2012

Artleaks was founded in 2011 as an international 
platform for cultural workers where instances of 
abuse, corruption and exploitation are exposed 
and submitted for public inquiry. After over a 
year of activity, we, members of the collective 
ArtLeaks felt an urgent need to establish a 
regular on-line publication as a tool for 
empowerment in the face of the systemic abuse of 
cultural workers' basic labor rights, repression 
or even blatant censorship and growing 
corporatization of culture that we encounter 

Namely: radical (political) projects are co-opted 
under the umbrella of corporate promotion and 
gentrification; artistic research is performed on 
research hand-outs, creating only an illusion of 
depth while in fact adding to the reserve army of 
creative capital; the secondary market thrives as 
auction houses speculate on blue chip artists for 
enormous amounts of laundered money, following 
finance capitalism from boom to bust, meanwhile, 
most artists can't even make a living and depend 
on miserly fees, restrictive residencies, and 
research handouts to survive; galleries and 
dealers more and more heavily copyright cultural 
values; approximately 5% of authors, producers 
and dealers control 80% of all cultural resources 
(and indeed, in reality, the situation may be 
even worse than these numbers suggest) ; certain 
cultural managers and institutions do not shy 
away from using repressive maneuvers against 
those who bring into question their mission, 
politics or dubious engagements with corporate or 
state benefactors; and last but not least, 
restrictive national(ist) laws and governments 
suppress cultural workers through very drastic 
politics, not to mention the national state 
functions as a factor of neoliberal expression in 
the field of culture.

Do you recognize yourself in the scenarios above? 
Do you accept them as immutable conditions of 
your labor? We strongly believe that this dire 
state of affairs can be changed. We do not have 
to carry on complying to politics that cultivate 
harsh principles of pseudo-natural selection (or 
social-Darwinism) - instead we should fight 
against them and imagine different scenarios 
based on collective values, fairness and dignity. 
We strongly believe that issues of exploitation, 
repression or cooptation cannot be divorced from 
their specific politico-economic contexts and 
historical conditions, and need to be raised in 
connection with a new concept of culture as an 
invaluable reservoir of the common, as well as 
new forms of class consciousness in the artistic 
field in particular, and the cultural field more 

Recently, this spectrum of urgencies and the 
necessity to address them has also become the 
focus of fundamental discussions and reflection 
on the part of communities involved in cultural 
production and certain leftist social and 
political activists. Among these, we share the 
concerns of pioneering groups such as the Radical 
Education Collective (Ljubljana), Precarious 
Workers' Brigade (PWB) (London), W.A.G.E. (NYC), 
Arts &Labor (NYC), the May Congress of Creative 
Workers (Moscow) and others (see the Related 
Causes section on our website). The condition of 
cultural workers has also recently been theorized 
within the framework of bio-politics - in which 
cognitive labor is implicitly described as a new 
hegemonic type of production in the context of 
the global industrialization of creative work.

The question then emerges, what is creative work 
today? To structure this undifferentiated 
categorizations, we will begin by addressing in 
our journal all those 'occupied' with art who are 
striving towards emancipatory knowledge in the 
process of their activity. As the contemporary 
art world more and more envelops different areas 
of knowledge as well as the production of events, 
we considered it a priority to focus on this 
particular field. However, we remain open to 
discussing urgencies related to other forms of 
creative activity beyond the art world.

Through our journal, we want to stresses the 
urgent need to seriously transform these workers' 
relationship with institutions, networks and 
economies involved in the production, 
reproduction and consumption of art and culture. 
We will pursue these goals through developing a 
new approach to the tradition of institutional 
critique and fostering new forms of artistic 
production, that may challenge dominant 
discourses of criticality and social engagement 
which tame creative forces. We also feel the 
urgency to link cultural workers' struggles with 
similar ones from other fields of human activity 
- at the same time, we strongly believe that any 
such sustainable alliances could hardly be built 
unless we begin with the struggles in our own 

Announced Theme for the first issue: Breaking the 
Silence - Towards Justice, Solidarity and 

The main theme of the first issue of our journal 
is establishing a politics of truth by breaking 
the silence on the art world. What do we actually 
mean by this? We suggest that breaking the 
silence on the art world is similar to breaking 
the silence of family violence and other forms of 
domestic abuse. Similarly as when coming out with 
stories of endemic exploitation form inside the 
household, talking about violence and 
exploitation in the art world commonly brings 
shame, ambivalence and fear. But while each case 
of abuse may be different, we believe these are 
not singular instances but part of a larger 
system of repression, abuse and arrogance that 
have been normalized through the practices of 
certain cultural managers and institutions. Our 
task is to find voices, narratives, hybrid forms 
that raise consciousness about the profound 
effects of these forms of maltreatments: to break 
through the normalizing rhetoric that relegate 
cultural workers' labor to an activity performed 
out of instinct, for the survival of culture at 
large, like sex or child rearing which, too are 
zones of intense exploitation today.

Implicit in this gesture is a radical form of 
protest - one that does not simply join the 
concert of affirmative institutional critique 
which confirms the system by criticizing it. 
Rather, breaking the silence implies bringing 
into question the ways in which the current art 
system constructs positions for its speakers, and 
looking for strategies in which to counteract 
naturalized exploitation and repression today.

At the same time, we recognize that the moment of 
exposure does not fully address self-organization 
or, what comes after breaking the silence? We 
suggest that it is therefore important to link 
this to solidarity, mobilization and an appeal 
for justice, as political tools. As it is the 
understanding of the dynamic interaction between 
the mobilization of resources, political 
opportunities in contexts and emancipatory 
cultural frames that we can use to analyze and 
construct strategies for cultural workers 
movements. With summoning the urgency of 
'potentia agendi' (or the power to act) 
collectively we also call for the necessity to 
forge coalitions within the art world and beyond 
it - alliances that have the concrete ability of 
exerting a certain political pressure towards 
achieving the promise of a more just and 
emancipatory cultural field.

Structure of publication

The journal would be divided into 6 major sections.

A. Critique of cultural dominance apparatuses

Here we will address methodological issues in 
analyzing the condition of cultural production 
and the system that allows for the facile 
exploitation of the cultural labor-force. 
Ideally, though not necessarily, these 
theoretical elaborations would be related to 
concrete case studies of conflicts, exploitation, 
dissent across various regions of the world, 
drawing comparisons and providing local context 
for understanding them.

B. Forms of organization and history of struggles

Cultural workers have been demanding just working 
conditions, struggling over agency and 
subjectivity in myriad ways and through various 
ideas about what this entails. In this section we 
will analyze historical case-studies of 
self-organization of cultural workers. Our goal 
is not to produce a synthetic model out of all of 
these struggles, rather to examine how problems 
have been articulated at various levels of 
(political) organization, with attention to the 
genealogy of the issues and the interaction 
between hegemonic discourses (of the institution, 
corporation, the state) and those employed by 
cultural workers in their respective communities.

C. The struggle of narrations

In this section we will invite our contributors 
to develop and practice artistic forms of 
narration which cannot be fully articulated 
through direct 'leaking'. It should be focused on 
finding new languages for narration of systemic 
dysfunctions . We expect these elaborations can 
take different form of artistic contributions, 
including comics, poems, films, plays, short 
stories, librettos etc.

D. Glossary of terms

What do we mean by the concept of 'cultural 
workers'? What does 'gentrification' or 'systemic 
abuse' mean in certain contexts? Whose 'art 
world'? This section addresses the necessity of 
developing a terminology to make theoretical 
articulations more clear and accessible to our 
readers. Members of ArtLeaks as well as our 
contributors to our gazette will be invited to 
define key terms used in the material presented 
in the publication. These definitions should be 
no more that 3-4 sentences long and they should 
be formulated as a result of a dialogue between 
all the contributors.

E. Education and its discontents

The conflicts and struggles in the field of 
creative education are at the core of determining 
what kind of subjectivities will shape the 
culture(s) of future generations. It is very 
important to carefully analyze what is currently 
at the stake in these specific fields of 
educational processes and how they are linked 
with what is happening outside academies and 
universities. In this section we will discuss 
possible emancipatory approaches to education 
that are possible today, which resist pressing 
commercial demands for flexible and 'creative' 
subjectivities. Can we imagine an alternative 
system of values based of a different meaning of 

F. Best practices and useful resources

In this section we would like to invite people to 
play out their fantasies of new, just forms of 
organization of creative life. Developing the 
tradition of different visionaries of the past we 
hope that this section will trigger many 
speculations which might help us collect modest 
proposals for the future and thus counter the 
shabby reality of the present. This section is 
also dedicated to the practices which demonstrate 
alternative ethical guidelines, and stimulate the 
creation of a common cultural sphere. This would 
allow cultural workers to unleash their full 
potential in creating values based on principles 
of emancipatory politics, critical reflections 
and affirmative inspiration of a different world 
where these values should form the basis of a 
dignified life.

On Practicalities
Our open call addresses all those who feel the 
urgency to discuss the aforementioned-issues. We 
look forward to collecting contributions until 
the 31st of December 2012. Contributions should 
be delivered in English or as an exemption in any 
language after negotiations with the editorial 
council. The editorial council of Artleaks takes 
responsibility of communicating with all authors 
during the editorial process.

Please contact us with any questions, comments 
and submit materials to : 
<mailto:artsleaks at gmail.com>artsleaks at gmail.com. 
When submitting material, please also note the 
section under which you would like to see it 

The on-line gazette will be published in English 
under the Creative Commons attribution 
noncommercial-share alike and its materials will 
be offered for translation in any languages to 
any interested parts.

We will publish all contributions delivered to us 
in a separate section. However, our editorial 
council takes full responsibility in composing an 
issue of the journal in the way we feel it should 
be done.

Editorial council for the first issue will 
consist of: Corina L. Apostol, Vladan 
Jeremiç,Vlad Morariu, David Riff and Dmitry 


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