Living precarious lives? Time and temporality in visual arts careers

Serafini, P. and Banks, M. (2020) Living precarious lives? Time and temporality in visual arts careers. Culture Unbound, 12(2), pp. 351-372. (doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.20200504a)

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Abstract

Although precarity has always been a characteristic feature of artistic labour, many critics now claim it is becoming more widespread and engrained. However, while the idea of precarity offers a good descriptor of the conditions of artistic labour, it also has its limits. Firstly, it tends to gloss over social differences in the distribution of precariousness. And secondly, precarity tends to imply a universal condition of ‘temporal poverty’ where all social experience appears dominated by the frenetic demands of a speeded-up, unstable and fragmented social world. In this article, we show how these two omissions are interlinked and prevent a more nuanced understanding of time in artistic labour. Drawing from findings from empirical research with working visual artists in the Midlands of the UK, we propose three schematic ways of thinking about the organisation of time and temporality in routine artistic practice. We name these three temporal contexts ‘the artistic career’; ‘the time of making art’ and ‘the temporality of the work’. By researching how artists might be differently positioned in relation to time, we suggest, we not only obtain a more precise understanding of how professional artists’ lives are organised, managed and lived, but also a more distinct understanding of precarity itself.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Banks, Professor Mark
Authors: Serafini, P., and Banks, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Culture Unbound
Publisher:Linköping University Electronic Press
ISSN:2000-1525
ISSN (Online):2000-1525
Published Online:04 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Culture Unbound 12(2): 351-372
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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