This is a propaganda tactic, a means of raising the visibility and intensity of the class war within the cultural sphere.
What is your labour worth?
Who are you working for?
Who is consuming you?
What is your art supporting?
Who is your art excluding?
The live art strike would involve an immediate suspension for three years of all live art events, a temporary closure of all institutions and a deferral of all live art education. We will boycott all cultural events.
[an arts producer is invited to speak about models and tools for the future. She does not speak about her work in the arts organisation but the urgent necessity of her work to resettle refugees as an activist]
All artists are called on cease their artistic work immediately to address their understanding of art and their identity as artists.
[for seven hours the bread is mixed, kneaded, punched, portioned, rounded, shaped and proofed. This bread is made as a gift for you. Hands move fast, arms apply pressure with skill. We witness unpaid labour as performance, actions redefined as activism]
In 1968, Alain Jouffrey wrote in the essay What’s To Be Done About Art?:
The abolition of art can really occur in the actual time and space of a pre-revolutionary situation […]. It is essential that the minority advocate the necessity of going on an active art strike using the machines of the culture industry to set it in total contradiction to itself. The intention is not to end the rule of production, but to change the most adventurous part of ‘artistic’ production into the production of revolutionary forms and techniques.
The purpose of the strike is to aggressively challenge the rule of production, to alter the oppressive domination so-called creative elite and to encourage critical debate around the concept of live art. We will draw attention to the process by which works are produced, legitimated and distributed
There is a precedent; in the 1960s Gustav Metzger and the Art Work Coalition called a strike, as did Stewart Home with the Art Strike Campaign in 1990.
We will align ourselves with all proletarian culture, and take a stand for revolutionary socialism.
During the three years of the strike we will find other ways to care for the psychic life of those around us. We will learn and strategize. We will become highly skilled and technically proficient. We may become members of activist organisations and use our skills to resettle and support refugees. We may become bakers. We will understand how to measure the value of our labour, of ourselves and of our community.