I’m not an advocate of genius artistry nor a spokesperson for the artist trade. Having worked in different roles with them, as an assistant, an art writer and a producer, I’ve grown allergic to much of what constitutes an artist. Last minute changes to exhibition layouts as power grabs, pettifogging material or textual decisions for asserting authorship in collaborative processes, claiming commons as a resource and whimsical scheduling & budgeting irritate me.

But through having been active in the Kiasma_strike campaign I’ve been introduced to an aspect of artist-rational, which yields unparalleled power: Collective desire. On the rare occasion when artists exercise will collectively they outmatch any state of affair. For example, I now understand artistry and capital as the only domains which can meet as equals at an intersection of power, will and curiosity. Having consulted many of the over 220 artists on strike in different roles, I’ve witnessed them joining forces out of sheer curiosity and a multifaceted desire to push boundaries.

In the strike artists have gone all in for their beliefs and this gesture granted them similar type of power, creative movability and reach which capital has. In practice the collective power of artists outmatches capital power, because it originates from nothing. It is an expression of will and cannot be traded, inherited and interestingly it cannot be relied upon. Nonreliability makes it a fiersom asset for negotiations. It does what it wants, it resists efforts to be led because it can choose not to exist on a whim. Artistry is inherently disloyal to the established and bites the hand which feeds it, because it remains curious to what happens if it does. It truly tests the reality which contains it.

Being involved with the strike has refreshed my belief in the transformative power of art. Demanding something ridiculous yields real life results. Most of what we should demand from ourselves and the world is ridiculous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *