Divisions – The Charismatic Self and Hybrid Divisions of Labour

Art in the Age of Creative Industries and Knowledge Production

NTNU, Trondheim Academy of Fine Art

project manager: professor Florian Schneider

The project sets out to investigate self-images and self-conceptions of artists in a post-industrial society that is characterized by hybrid divisions of labour. The project consists of researching facts on the ground of creative industries, a series of conferences and workshops across Norway, culminating in the commission of five artworks by internationally renowned artists.

In the debate about creative industries, the artist appears as a role-model for a self-managed entrepreneurship that is supposed to undo the industrial division of labour that prevailed throughout modernity, and most importantly the division between manual and intellectual labour.

Rather than uncritically accepting these claims about creativity and knowledge production and thus accepting the position of the artist in a seemingly seamless way into a homogenous conceptual arrangement of creative industries, artistic practices follow different paths, and this project aims to examine this phenomenon.

This artistic research project sets out to explore, analyse and work with the shifts, changes and contradictions of the artist’s role in today’s society which may result from the assumption that art is no longer situated outside of production. Ultimately, it will test a daring hypothesis: The mythology of networked automatisation has estranged creativity from the process of creation. In order to generate value, the image becomes valuable in an alienated context — one other than its own.

Against that backdrop, a rather “charismatic” notion of the self of the artist might be condemned to a terrible task: It has to revaluate, remix and reconnect the image with a new concept of a self, which does not necessarily have to be the original creator. Rather than being an unearned gift, the charismatic self may appear as the just or unjust forfeits of new forms of ownership that are currently emerging out of the networked character of production.