What is the role of art and the artist in in a post-industrial society, where production is profoundly characterised by the exploitation of creativity and knowledge which results in a sort of "imaginary" property? In the debate about "creative industries", the artist appears as a role-model for a self-managed entrepreneurship that is supposed to undo the industrial division of labour that prevailed throughout modernity, and most importantly the division between manual and intellectual labour.
"Divisions of labor" is an ongoing artistic research project initiated by Florian Schneider. It started as an investigation into Eindhoven's "Forbidden City", the area of the former Philips factory. After a research trip to Calcutta in 2011 in collaboration with the artist Praneet Soi and together with nine students of the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, the different lines of research have been reconnected and reframed.
Currently, the project sets out to explore, analyse and work with the shifts, changes and contradictions of the self-conception and self-image of artists that may result from the assumption that art is no longer situated outside of production.
The research project is divided into three stages:
1. Examining the actual relationship between art and new technologies in the specific local setting of the art academy KIT within the setting of the Norwegian University for Technology and Science and creative industries sector in Trondheim.
2. Comparing and setting out the results in a wider perspective and within different international, interdisciplinary contexts. Identifying corresponding aesthetics and new narrative strategies.
3. Putting the findings into practice and presenting the outcome of the research project alongside a series of commissioned essay films that will be produced and exhibited as video installations in collaboration with a number of internationally renowned artists and art institutions.
Ultimately, the research project will test a daring hypothesis: The mythology of networked automatisation has estranged creativity from the process of creation. In order to generate value, the image becomes valuable in an alienated context—one other than its own.
Against that backdrop, a rather "charismatic" notion of the self of the artist might be condemned to a terrible task: It has to revaluate, remix and reconnect the image with a new concept of a self, which does not necessarily have to be the original creator. Rather than being an unearned gift, the charismatic self may appear as the just or unjust deserts of new forms of ownership that are currently emerging out of the networked character of production.