Caveat Reading Room #8 with Scott William Raby
Scott William Raby
Jerôme Sancassiani (legal adviser)
Grace Ndiritu, artist
Gatien Du Bois
Jan (maker, 'questioning a lot about work')
Julie Van Elslande
Stijn Van Dorpe
Jesse van Winden
Christian (art theory & philosophy)
Introduction by Scott
Artist Placement Group (APG): artists inside corporations, institutions, government agencies in Britain. Started by John Latham and Barbara Stevini, ran until the 1980s. Recent examples in which Scott is involved: Social Sensibility, Diakron. Other books relevant in this context: Gielen, Pascal & Nico Dockx (eds), Commonism, A New Aesthetics of the Real, 2018, on Commoning (artists engaging with the tools of capitalism); Feher, Michel, Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age, Zone Books, 2018 How to find a space for agency within an hegemonic capitalist context?
As an artist with an American background, Scott thought it would be interesting to give an American perspective.
Scott: Nick Srnicek is young political philosopher. Theories about a post-capitalist scarsity.
With Alex Williams (co-author) key persons in left accelerationism and post-capitalist theories.
According to Scott, this is a good starting point to think about the aims of the artist placement group and possible new ways of producing and organising.
15:40 Scott reads a fragment as introduction
17:00 Reading from beginning
Kobe: Shift within technology from private to public. For instance, Wageningen University is advocating to take GMOs from big corporations.
Gatien: But what is public? Technology in government's hands isn't necessarily democratic or open-source.
Ronny: This has to do with questions of ownership.
Discussion between Michiel & Scott about technology and work
34:00 Reading from 'While the...'
Grace: But what will poor people do, within this proposal?
Scott: It would be coupled with the demand for an universal basic income.
Gatien: But would we really have free time then?
Grace & Ronny: work vs constructive activities
Michiel: Under the present condition these forms of automized production would be in a context of competition. But having the possibility to have my work done by robots doesn't keep me from starting a community and doing it still.
Ronny & Grace about class problems (?) and work ethics
Scott about David Graber: This will happen, let's embrace that, why don't we try to automate processes and focus our political energy on ....
47:00 Reading from "But there are important..."
Christian: Counter-hegemony sounds interesting, but it would be more useful to discuss why and how we would repurpose precisely the capitalist automatization of work.
Grace: He doesn't discuss the negative implications of automization at all.
Michiel: Shouldn't it be about how design is always linked to a certain concept of desire?
Jesse & Katleen: technology for capitalism is finished soon often feeds into extra-capitalism...
Scott & Gatien & Jesse on (im)possibility of repurposing in a capitalist era where automization is instrumentailzed towards private ownership
Scott & Ronny & Michiel on work ethics & surveillance systems, f.i. China. The private seems to become the public.
Reading from 'Organisational Economy'
Scott: It's kind of a bold claim to state that organisations don't have to be horizontal. An engineer told me that his company is going towards horizontality, less hierarchy & management. Rather engineers & accountants coming together. In Denmark, this is a trend of management now. It's interesting then that Srnicek & Williams defend hierarchy in political movements.
Michiel: To what degree does that lead to technologies & prodcctis that work for social horizontality at large? Michiel describes hierarchical multiplicity in the positions of some of his co-workers.
Scott on Occupy movement. If it wasn't so fetishistic in horizontality it could have sustained longer.
Joris & Grace on movement of money in top-down vs horizontal structures
Koen: In companies, people are in the same ideology of being paid by the company, whereas in an activist context, people take a lot of time to trust eachother and become transparent. Between bottom-up groups this problem appears even more.
Katleen on commons of water in Naples. Transformed a stock-listed company into a public one. But the necessary efficiency turned out to be a problem, especially because activist groups were always quarreling. But a common company was created.
Scott bringing the discussion back to APG. Utopian dimension on a macro-political scale. On a micro-level, 'infiltrating' in companies. Creates an interesting framework to think about APG as not being a more clever enterpreneur but thinking about organisational practice where artists can create different models of creating capital.
Stijn: APG was sometimes considered as a failure, projects where often not so interesting, the Art Council rejected them while they reappropriated it later.
Kobe: Used documentation to create research within organisations, mobile employees in hierarchical structures.
Ronny on beginnings of APG.
Kobe & Scott on the potential of artists in organisations