After a lengthy wait my article “Participatory art within, against and beyond financialization: Benign pessimism, tactical parasitics and the encrypted common” has been published by the journal Cultural Studies. It features the work of the artists Axel Stockburger, Robin Hood Minor Asset Management and Cassie Thornton. Also, the Yippies.
You can download a copy here.
Here is an abstract (please note, below is the correct abstract – the one featured in on the Taylor and Franics website and on the PDF still hasn’t been corrected):
This essay examines three critical artists who orchestrate participatory spectacles and experiences as a means of challenging neoliberal financialization, an overarching paradigm and process that is reshaping economics, politics, society and culture. Critical art, I argue, can offer us a particularly insightful vantage point on these transformations. This is not, as it is usually supposed, because art has some lofty transcendental perspective above society; rather, it is precisely because art is already so deeply integrated into finance and financialization. Not coincidentally, “participation” appears as a keyword for the restructuring of both art and finance today, which I argue is key to understanding the challenges, limits and potentials of even avowedly critical participatory art, with lessons for cultural production more broadly. In order to analyse and draw broader lessons from the three artworks in question, I identify each with a strategic paradigm: benign pessimism, tactical parasitism and the encrypted common. These strategies, I argue, emerge within, against and beyond financialization and can help complicate our approach to its complex cultural politics.
One of the funny aspects of this article, and academic publishing in general, is how long things can take to emerge in print. This piece was inspired by a trip to California in the fall of 2014 to (among other things) participate in a workshop at University of Southern California in LA and to visit the Bay Area, where I was reacquainted with and co-facilitated a workshop on debt with the artist Cassie Thornton. Her work inspired this piece, and she is one of the featured artists. As this article made its slow way through many the academic publishing plumbing my admiration for Cassie (and I guess hers for me) grew to such a point that, in early 2017 we were left with no choice but to wed. Take that for what you will; I make no claims to “objectivity” when it comes to her work, or to any work for that matter.