The Arts of Logistics conference, Queen Mary University of London

I will be a co-presenter at The Arts of Logistics conference at the Queen Mary University of London. The conference takes place on June 3 & 4, 2016, with keynotes from Deborah Cowen & Alberto Toscano.

I co-present the panel “Art and Logistical Disruption” with Danny Butt from the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, from 2pm – 3.30pm on the second day of the conference, June 4, and our guests are Leah Lovett and Michael Wilson.

“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.

Art and Logistical Disruption – Indentured aesthetic economy on the professional frontier

Australia can be seen as a settler colonial nation that has effectively neoliberalised its cultural infrastructure over the last three decades, constructing a speculative futurity for an institutionally unbound professionalism that subtracts a historical ‘labour’ consciousness from dominant forms of production. The effect of this “turn” in the visual arts of the settler colony, partially due to its coincidence with a relatively healthy public arts funding until very recently, is a transition that brings institutionalised “professional” art work and workers into line with a global paradigm of deskilling and proletarianisation.

In this space, the coincidence of curatorial and artistic professionalism with the neoliberal State form risks working away at a frontier of a frontier – a frontier of labour, value and place – whereby the reimposition of speculative limits for capital, or the demand for foundation, results in what Angela Mitropolous describes as “calls for genealogical order” that could be observed both in calls for and against the widely debated boycott of the 2014 Sydney Biennale.

As nominally “public” institutional art of the biennial becomes increasingly bound up in contractual play in the post-welfare settler colonial state, fine art’s residual discourses of modernist autonomy appear not simply paradoxical, but indicative of a “machinery of fealty” that circulates the performative defense of aesthetic autonomy precisely to suppress the material-symbolic dynamics of its contractual base. Exploring Mitropolous’ elaboration of the contractual and the subject-form, and responding to recent re-examinations of aesthetic and political autonomy by UK and European theorists and historians in the wake of major arts cuts and populist takeovers of re-nationalized funding programs of export-oriented utility, this paper pays special attention to the spatial and contractual fix of neoliberal disposition in the ‘contemporary’ to ask questions about affective composure, forms of negation, divestment and reinvestment as alternate forms of professional response-ability.

More information on the conference here: Arts of Logistics conference

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