As artists, designers, authors and other cultural workers we have to deal with a lot of flexibility in our everyday life. The work we do is based on our capacity as individuals and on an independent status, making professional relations often tied to an emotional context where the boundaries between life and profession are blurred. Work in the creative field requires to invest yourself personally - to love what you do, to seduce, to adapt, and to rely on yourself.
This Is (Not) A Love Song is a People's Tribunal addressing those issues, taking place on October 11th in Amsterdam. It addresses precarious work and life conditions within the arts and beyond in light of current neoliberal tendencies that inform today's highly flexible, insecure and meritocratic employment model, the logic of which is particularly present in the Netherlands.
Precarious labor is the predominant working condition in the creative industries, often translating into unpaid work, short-term contracts or no-contract work or internships, insecure and unstable work and life conditions, individual competition, deprivation of rights and status, reinforced inequalities (class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality) - while promoting an insecure or flexible way of life as the privilege and freedom of making your own choices.
This day aims to collectively diagnose how those working conditions promote the merits of individualistic behavior and competition over those of collectivity and solidarity - a model that is formulated as the blueprint for the future worker based on the artist’s capacity to rely on him or herself. 'The artist is easily understood as a paradigm for the ideal worker: passionate about what they do and willing to forgo material wealth for the love of it'.1 In this respect while precarious conditions are particularly poignant in the creative field the discussion will tie into a more general debate on the changing conditions of work and life in an increasingly flexible, deregulated and privatized landscape that forces many more professional occupations into the liberal perspective of a more open relationship that confuses wage and love, freedom and risk.
This Is (Not) A Love Song is not a love song. It will play out as a People’s Tribunal where the issue will be discussed drawing on courtroom protocols such as shared testimonials, expert witnesses, a collective deliberation and the formulation of a verdict.