Arte Futile: The Gift That is No-one’s to Give and Which No-one Wants to Receive

Vishmidt, Marina and Iles, Anthony. 2020. Arte Futile: The Gift That is No-one’s to Give and Which No-one Wants to Receive. In: Kris Dittel, ed. Trouble with Value: Art and its Modes of Valuation. 151 Eindhoven: Onomatopee. ISBN 9789493148208 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The past decade of escalating global economic, political and social crises has undeniably had an impact on the relatively insulated environs of contemporary art, as have the forms of resistance and organising that have developed in their wake. An increasingly authoritarian climate has revitalised forms of political organising that draw on critical race, migration, feminist, queer and trans, anti-displacement and ecology debates. These have edged more cultural practitioners closer to the self-recognition of their activity as political in a wide and transversal sense. Labour politics within the arts have approached art and its conditions both as a particular type of alienated labour and as an asset class, as well as marking its commonality with other kinds of labour. Art’s relation with abstract value – whether it is the typical forms of contemporary work or financial mechanisms has now attained the status of a critical commonplace, a discourse advanced also through wide circulation publishing outlets such as e-flux journal.

However, what should also be noted in tracking these developments is that art’s relationship to the political events shaking our present is not just one of reflection or reaction. Art is involved in the productive forces, which is to say that there are cultural, psychic but also economic ties to the current phase of capital characterised by ‘non-production’ and devalorisation in an era of debt-financed austerity

Item Type:

Book Section


value, art, labour, refusal, financialization, institution

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


11 August 2019Accepted
10 April 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Jan 2021 15:43

Last Modified:

28 Jul 2021 15:41


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