Jesper Alvaer and Alexander König: Work, work!
In 2013 the acceptance speech for the VFX Oscar were interrupted by the theme of “Jaws”, just as the team was about to mention that VFX vendor Rhythm + Hues, who had worked on the film, has recently gone into bankruptcy. Director Ang Lee adds fuel to the fire by stating that he hopes two things for the future: “It gets to be an easier business, cheaper, and more people can put their hands on it. Secondly, I would like to see it be used more of as an artistic form than just effects for action.” This leads to a scandal and VFX artists worldwide declared their solidarity with their colleagues, by posting original film material without VFX on social networks and setting their profile-pictures to the light-green of the green screens. There was a spirit of revolution in the air and some even talked about building a labor union. Based on this event the contribution to the “10 working days” will examine the working conditions in the VFX industries and furthermore question the identity and role of these “artists” in relation to traditional terms and conditions of art. This should be achieved by an analysis of the highly specialized work flow structures, the so called “pipelines”, which will give detailed information on the organization of artistic-labor in globalized high-tech environments and economic-systems.
"Thus, we propose to undermine both spatial (space of exhibiting versus space of practice) and occupational (makers versus viewers) divisions still characteristic for the art world. However, we are not interested in simply reiterating the notion of participation, which only seemingly actives a viewer as a participant, but does not question more fundamental difference between an author and an executor of an artistic script. We want a visitor to experience himself as neither a viewer nor a participant in some sort of art performance, in which our competence would be a primary object of consumption. Instead, we step back and create an opportunity for a visitor to enter into an active dialogue with his/her own competences as a maker and a viewer of art. And in order to create conditions for this unusual experience to emerge we very carefully orchestrate the process of visiting the Kunsthal. Considering a more general socio-economic context of our work, one might say that in the micro-scale of an exhibition, we enact the conflation of consumption and production, a development characteristic for post-Fordist economy. However, the contemporary capitalism, in its drive for profit, both eradicates creative imagination and turns creativity into a commodity. Our intervention, going against these developments, is a slightly idealistic attempt to rejuvenate innate human capacities of making and contemplating. We want to occupy cracks opened by an aesthetical experience, instead of trying to commodify them. Our project continues both artists' and curator's practical and theoretical interest in the problems of participation, division of artistic labor and in the notion of competence."
(Extract from Competencies; reply to Call for Exhibition Proposals / Kunsthal Aarhus 2015 in collaboration with Isabela Grosseova and Kuba Schreder)
Alexander König is a media theoretician and av-artist living in Berlin. He works as a freelancer in the fields of real-time-animation, system-engineering and digital-video for the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg (among others). He got his “Master of Art in European Media” (Stuttgart/Portsmouth) in 2005 and is at the moment finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Fine Arts Vienna at Prof. Diedrich Diederichsen. Alexander König was teaching semiotics and media-theory at the Merz-Akademie Stuttgart for several years.
Jesper Alvær received his artistic training mainly in Prague, New York, and Kitakyushu. During 2013–16 he is a research fellow at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts with the project Work, work: Staging dislocation in artistic and non artistic labour. (http://artistic-research.no/jesper-alvaer- work-work) Alvær has also participated in several study, residence, and research programmes both in Norway and abroad. His most recent exhibitions include Mother, Dear Mother, (Kunstnernes Hus Oslo, 2014), Arbeidstid/Work Time (Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, 2013) as well as several exhibitions held in collaboration with Isabela Grosseova: Competencies (Fotograf Gallery, Prague 2015), Activum (Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, 2013), Eventos Paralelos (Manifesta 8, Murcia, 2010/11), and an exhibition at Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Krakow, 2007. (http://kunstakademiet.no/en/jesper-james-alvaer)