Research on Value

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Working Group coordinator: formally Sharon
Working Group Members: Marsha Bradfield, Kuba Szreder, Neil , Metod


Between 2012-2015, we will work with a wide range of international partners - individuals, associations and institutions, to explore value from various and perhaps even contradictory perspectives. Our research will be embedded, specific and localised, and it is our intention to produce diverse publicly available resources that others can use and develop.

This series aims to:

(1) Extend our research on value and situate this research
(2) Aggregate a community for the 'Value' projects/raise CP's profile

We are interested in how values are constituted, sustained, produced, extracted and appropriated. We are tracing what value 'was', what value 'is' and what value 'could be'. Etymologically,'value' derives from the Latin verb valeo/valere, meaning strong / powerful / influential / worthy / healthy.

This research evolved from an earlier Art/Value working group, in response to Critical Malfunction (Gdanks, 2010) as well as the Free/Slow University Warsaw Summit (Warsaw, 2010). There was much talk about value, especially the value of art: What is it? Where does it reside? How is value "marked" (Valeria's value markers). Some useful themes might be:

(1) Is the value of art irreducible to either exchange value or use value?
(2) Reducing art's value to purposive purposeless (Adorno) was not something we really entertained. We're instead thinking about art in terms of multiple evaluative processes. Some may be very practical - pragmatic even. (see Superflex's "tools" for instance).
(3) Value is not entirely subjective. Because evaluation takes place through collective processes, we can speak about the shared value of art in a meaningful way.
(4) The value of art resides with its capacity to map complex conglomerations of value(s)
(b) this mapping is performative, which is to say it produces additional/different evaluations.

To valorise something positively means that it prevails against something else. Value has a tendency to be abstracted. We are interested in the intimate, local and social processes of evaluation; who, how, when and where. In this respect we follow in the footsteps of (amongst others) Walter Benjamin to venture into financial centres, cathedrals, museums and galleries of contemporary art, mosques, flea-markets and bars.

Who: Critical Practice is a cluster of individual artists, researchers, academics and others, supported by Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. Through our Aims we intend to support critical practice within art, the field of culture and organization. We have a longstanding interest in public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original participatory events, like PARADE (2008-2010). This international series of events explored the disagreeable, contentious, exhilarating, messy, efficient, live, improvisatory and provisional nature of 'Being in Public'.

A few questions...

  • What is 'value'?
  • What distinguishes 'value' from 'worth'?
  • Through what kinds of historical processes has value been produced?
  • What's the relation between socially produced value and culturally produced value and is this a useful distinction?


Research Strands

Evaluation, Consensus and Location 28 - 29 th March 2014

We are collaborating with a group of Utopographers, towards an event in the Triangle Exhibition Space at Chelsea College of Art and Design, 28th and 29th March. We have access to the space from the 24th to install a structure to host discursive events within the exhibitionary frame.

The theme is Evaluation (to enable Critical Practice to develop it current research strand) Consensus as its problematic for utopians and chimes with our Evaluative Communities and Location as we are all interested in being creatively estranged in time and space.

Utopography is about the interactions of space and temporal narrative, the creation of social dreams and the reality of working within and through the environments of the present.

The Brokers: People, Spaces and Values. Waste

'Waste' is a temporary evaluation made by actors, in a particular economy.

Who: The Brokers are Environmental Lawyer Rosie Oliver and Economic geographer Angus Cameron
When: 10.00 for a 10.15am (sharp) start - Saturday 16th February (we leave at 10.15 sharp as Thames tides wait for no person!)
Where: Mudchute, Greenwich and Blackheath
What: We will perambulate around the Isle of Dogs, Greenwich and beyond, unpicking the value of waste, while sharing our Brokers' situated expertise
How: Two discursive walking tours/discussions with lunch at 1:00 at The Trafalgar Tavern in between. Each tour will be lead by a specific 'Broker' and explore how different social practices of evaluation are situated, localized and embedded in particular places, buildings, public spaces and institutions. We will perambulate the Isle of Dogs, Greenwich and Blackheath, unpicking notions of waste, the unwanted and the marginal while sharing our Brokers' situated expertise. The walking-tour format aims to investigate the specific situation of waste... Each activity will last an hour and a half, and comprise a combination of prepared tour, and animated discussion.
Who: Critical Practice is a cluster of individual artists, researchers, academics and others, supported by Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. Through our Aims we intend to support critical practice within art, the field of culture and organization. We have a longstanding interest in public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original participatory events, like PARADE (2008-2010). This international series of events explored the disagreeable, contentious, exhilarating, messy, efficient, live, improvisatory and provisional nature of 'Being in Public'.



Read Angus Cameron's account of the day
Read Neil's account of the day

To find out more about our last event "The Brokers: People, Spaces and Values"
Marvel at the Moving Image document of the day, browse images at Marsha Bradfield's flicker set


"The Brokers: People, Spaces and Values"

We decide to coordinate a series of events/walking tours/discussions entitled "The Brokers: People, Spaces and Values" Each event will be lead by a specific 'Broker/Brokers' and explore how different social practices of evaluation, are situated, localized and embedded in particular places, buildings, public spaces and institutions.

The June Teaser, (postponed until September in light of the Olympics....), consisting of three walking tours/discussions, back to back is the first iteration of this research strand.

Market of Values

We were invited to participate at the Industrial Festival 2013 (working title) – an interdisciplinary festival exploring industrialization, the post-industrial condition and the future of the region of Dortmund/Ruhr.

Our involvement had been possible on Kuba's recommendation to Hartware MedianKunstVerein HMKV based in Dortmund and Metod and Kuba were involved in the first working and brainstorming session towards the Industrial Festival 2013 (working title). The festival had been initiated by HMKV artistic director Dr. Inke Arns, Fabian Saavedra-Lara (an independent curator) and Thibaut de Ruyter (an independent curator).

The festival has been planned for autumn 2013: 6. September 2013 to 5. January 2014 in Dortmund, Germany

Our proposal is for a Market of Values

Anatomy of the Project

FOCUS: VALUE/VALORISATION/EVALUATION is a body of practice-based art research concerned with value as a process. We are especially interested in how it takes shape through valorisation, evaluation and other transformations.
CONTEXT: VALUE/VALORISATION/EVALUATION keys into various trends:
(1) Economic: globalisation in the wake of the Cold War; cuts to public funding (most notably the arts and education) following the bank bailouts of 2008; the general socialisation of debt and privatization of profit that tracks with the shrinking the middle class;
(2) Social: increasingly lack of accountability (there were no weapons of mass destruction) - connects with unreliable news (credibility now turns on ratings) - learning to tell counter stories (this seems connected to our work on narratives); projectisation and rampant precarity; 24/7 connectivity
(3) Environmental:Why bother when others (especially major polluters) don't.
(4) Cultural: the ambivalent relations between the art world (commercial, 'dark matter,' research, etc.);
post-conceptual art practice - more about genre than medium (?); deskilling - Is what we're talking about here a new kind of TASTE?
(5) A Different Kind of Revolution (?): The Hunger Games, Survivalist Communities
(6) Time/space: the acceleration of time (?): Does this make long-term planning passe? Planned obsolescence.
QUESTIONS: What is of value? In what ways is value determined? What are the impacts of these determinations on what we do, are and think?



Value/Evaluation-related Wiki Pages

Less Archival

More Archival

Resources

The New Economy of Art – a series of open discussions throughout 2011-12 that focuses on the economic developments and opportunities in the cultural sector that impact on artists, from the perspective of artists. It will share knowledge and provoke action to enable artists to influence the future ecologies and economies in which they operate.

The New Economy of Art aims to exchange knowledge and experience with and between artists, explore and uncover the rapid economic developments across the visual arts, and influence the evolving ecologies in which we all operate. Find out more by via this link.

ECONOMY is a curatorial project examining the outstanding and increasing visibility of economic relations and their impact on everything that we do or, indeed, are. Since the 1990s, capitalism as a global system has been mutating into an aggressive form of economic reductionism. At this moment in the history of capitalism, rampant economic oppression and a regime of crisis are transforming livelihoods and lives, yet also bringing forth an awareness about the necessity for struggle on all fronts. As a result, a new economic subject is displacing postmodernism’s celebrated cultural subject. But how and where does this take place exactly? Can it be observed in our everyday reality? And does the emergence of an economic subject indicate a new phase in the history of contemporary art? Find out more by following this link


Related: * Industrial-Dortmund * "The Brokers: People, Spaces and Values"* Main Page * Art/Value * Meta-thoughts on CP's project on evaluation