"Like all knowledge workers, the artists continued to labor; they just stopped labouring on actual art. Instead of artworks, they shifted attention towards ideas and the mediums associated with the production of ideas. Artists began producing research documents, spreadsheets, biographies, mockups, proposals, powerpoint presentations, documentation of prior work, press clippings, and so forth.
Unlike with their ephemeral artwork that might eventually alchemize into cash-money, the massive amounts of tangible labor that they are actually producing is considered value-less, self-serving, and irrelevant outside of the all-important proposal process. In short, no one pays an artist for this labor. It is considered career-building, and an assumed part of the trade.
Okay. I will concede that this labor is necessary for infusing the art with value. Without these trappings, the artwork will need to succeed upon its own merit. Of course, having already removed technique, craftsmanship, historicity, and whatever-the-hell-else, it can’t really do that. Thus, it typically needs to come swaddled in these documents to have any worth at all. Even though the labor is unpaid, it is what instills value in the art itself."
* Investigations on the Cultural Economy of Media Art. Ed. Alessio Chierico. ↩
* #exstrange Auction. ↩