Art and Public Life
Artist, writer and activist Gregory Sholette discusses the varied tactics associated with Gulf Labor Coalition as they seek to call attention to the plight of precarious migrant workers in Abu Dhabi where a new Guggenheim Museum is in the works, followed by an examination of Marina Naprushkina's sustainable art project in the Moabit section of Berlin where she is developing an "artificial institution" whose mission is to service the needs of her "new neighbors": political refugees fleeing military and economic conflict in Syria, Iraq and Northern Africa. The broader issue that both of these politically engaged, artistic endeavors confronts is how we might redirect resources, as well as invent new models, for rethinking the notion of a shared commons operating in opposition to the predacious appetite of neoliberal enterprise culture. This larger agenda seems especially urgent today as we witness an ever-tightening intersection between contemporary art, global capital, and the growing multitude of migratory, precarious, and paperless laborers who are simultaneously tasked with building the fabulous architectural fantasies serving the world's .01% ultra-rich, while also demonized as a dangerous social surplus dragging down limited economic resources. People at risk, including refugees, low-income workers, indebted students, marginalized people of color and women, as well as most artists, and even perhaps an entire nation in the case of Greece, increasingly wield a dark transformative agency with nothing to lose except their precariousness.
Presented by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Critical Inquiry, Art History, DOVA, and Art and Public Life.