ephemera politics of consumption issue released
volume 13, number 2
The politics of consumption

This age of austerity comes on the back of a lengthened period of apparently rampant consumer excess: that was a party for which we are all now having to pay. A spectacular period of unsustainably funded over-indulgence, it seems, has now given rise to a sobering period of barely fundable mere-subsistence. Consumption, narrated along such lines, is a sin which has to be paid for. Beyond the deceptive theology of consumption, however, lies actual politics. In May 2012, we hosted a conference at Dublin’s Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland in order to analyse and debate the politics of consumption. This special issue is the outcome of the discussions which took place during that event. It features conceptual and empirical investigations into the politics of consumption, a head-to-head debate on the idea of consumer citizenship, a series of notes on the relationship between art, politics, and consumption, and reviews of two recent books. Taken together, these diverse pieces underline the need for a politically-oriented analysis of consumption, not only for the sake of informing academic debates but also for the sake of informing contemporary consumption practices. Consumption, we argue, is political: to approach it otherwise is to dogmatically seek refuge in a world of fantasy.

Interface 5(1) now out. Struggles, strategies and analysis of anticolonial and postcolonial social movements
Interface: a journal for and about social movements

Issue editors: Aziz Choudry, Mandisi Majavu, Lesley Wood

Volume five, issue one of Interface, a peer-reviewed online journal produced and refereed by social movement practitioners and engaged movement researchers, is now out, on the special theme "Struggles, strategies and analysis of anticolonial and postcolonial social movements”. Interface is open-access (free), global and multilingual. Our overall aim is to "learn from each other's struggles": to develop a dialogue between practitioners and researchers, but also between different social movements, intellectual traditions and national or regional contexts.

Like all issues of Interface, this issue is free and open-access. You can download articles individually or a complete PDF of the issue (7.44 MB). Please note that you can also subscribe (free) on the right-hand side of the webpage to get email notification each time a new issue or call for papers is out. This issue of Interface includes 388 pages and 21 pieces, by authors writing from / about Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the UK and the US among other countries.

Open Letter to the Frieze Art Fair
OWS Arts & Labor

To artists, gallerists, workers, and fairgoers attending Frieze New York:

For the second year in a row, Frieze and its subcontractor Production Glue have hired low-wage, non-unionized workers to construct their fair, bringing in people from as far away as Wisconsin. This breaks with the industry standard: the major New York City art fairs including the Armory and the ADAA, as well as many other cultural and business expositions, employ unionized workers to construct and run their shows.

Frieze is a for-profit private event that takes over a municipal public park for two months to serve a global clientele of wealthy art collectors. The fair pays less than $1 per square foot to lease the land from the city. With a ticket price of $42 per day, Frieze is inaccessible to many working New Yorkers. However, despite the cheap rent and high admission prices to an event that generates millions of dollars in art sales, Frieze claims it cannot afford to pay decent wages to local workers.

Acker Avant-Garde Arts Awards Party
New York City, June 6, 2013

Date: Thursday, June 6, 2013
Time: 7pm – 10pm
Location: SoHo House 139 Ludlow LES, 2nd floor, NYC

The Acker Awards is a tribute given to members of the avant garde arts community who have made outstanding contributions in their discipline in defiance of convention, or else served their fellow writers and artists in outstanding ways.


Precarious Worlds: Organising in the realms of reproductive work
A Series of events hosted by Prekär Café in collaboration with Territorio Domestico, Radical Collective Care Practices, Mandelbaum Verlag and Labournet.tv

Care and reproductive work assure the functioning and maintenance of our societies. Elderly care, childcare, healthcare, housework, education, cleaning and tidying up – in private and public spaces alike, these forms of work are often invisibilized, unpaid or badly paid, and in the informal sector they tend to be only minimally protected in legal terms, if at all. The organization of this world of work is changing throughout the course of history. How can we transform it based on our needs, and turn it to stand in the way of the reproduction of capitalism?

Return to Documenta 13
Michel Chevalier

According to Michael Baldwin of Art & Language, Documenta 13 [the 13th edition of the international art fair took place in Kassel, Germany in the summer of 2012].was striking for “speaking very loudly of curatorial power,” with artists and artworks seemingly deployed on many occasions to illustrate the theses of Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. This essay seeks to turn the tables, to some extent: Documenta 13 and its curation are themselves used to illustrate observations and notions put forth by Jean-Claude Moineau in his 2010 book, Retour du Futur. Documenta 13 as a stage for many a return: modernism(s), the author, exhibited bodies, ethics – so many attempts to “resist” the unwanted effects of globalization. The inventory of problematic approaches spans thirty works, but also takes note of some of the strong points of this latest Documenta.


Class Struggle in China:
“We Are Not Machines! The Struggles of Workers in China”
Members of the Gongchao Collective

New York City
April 15, 17, and 18, 2013

Presentation: “We Are Not Machines! The Struggles of Workers in China”
with Members of the Gongchao Collective

The Chinese-Taiwanese company Foxconn employs more than one million people in China alone. As the world’s biggest contract manufacturer in electronics, it works for Apple and many other large brands — but, as revealed in the spotlight drawn by a series of worker suicides in 2010, Foxconn’s workers face horrendous working conditions while producing Phones, Pads, and other desired products. A contributor to the Gongchao collective will report on the exploitation in these factories and Foxconn workers’ resistance, countering the image of a perfect digital world presented by the leading gadget
brands like Apple.


When: Monday, April 15th @ 7PM
Where: Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-6028
Who: Free and open to all– $5 Suggested, but no one turned away.


When: Wednesday, April 17th 7:00pm
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY
Who: Free and open to all

When: Thursday, April 18 at 7:30PM
Where: The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (that's the West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets
NYC 10014
(212) 242-4201
Who: Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15


A conference sponsored by the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers
April 5-7, 2013

Inspired by the effort to organize by adjunct faculty at Duquesne University and the emerging discussion about adjunct faculty issues nationwide, this conference offers an opportunity to think more deeply about the state of contingent, non-tenure-stream faculty in the Pittsburgh region's colleges and universities. Contingent labor constitutes the majority of faculty, yet adjunct faculty are the lowest paid and most overburdened higher education workers. Adjunct faculty represent the foundation of academic experiences at the undergraduate level and offer irreplaceable interactions with students. They are artists, scholars, researchers, and examples of inspired teaching. This conference is an invitation to imagine the answers to crucial questions raised by adjunct faculty's tenuous position: How can we use what we know to create a more sustainable and equitable labor and educational system, one that will benefit everyone at the university? What change is most needed? What does it mean to constitute the new faculty majority at a college or university? What are the first and best steps to improve the conditions of adjunct faculty's labor and students' learning?

new ephemera issue on free work released
The relationship between freedom and work is a complex one. For some, they are considered opposites: ‘true’ freedom is possible only once the necessity of work is removed, and a life of luxury attained. For others, work itself provides an opportunity to achieve a sense of freedom and authenticity. In recent years for example, advances in human resource management have promoted hard work, a deep sense of commitment to one’s job, and the acceptance of working conditions that are ostensibly exploitative, as offering the promise of freedom. Recent corporate and entrepreneurial celebrations of playfulness also provide examples of the deep entanglement of contemporary forms of knowledge work with ideals of freedom.

In this issue of ephemera, our contributors inquire into the relation between freedom and work. They ask, for example, whether it is even possible to free oneself from ideals of freedom? Or is the fantasy of an imagined place of freedom, the utopia in which no work taints our lives, simply too prevalent? It may be the case that in contemporary life, we fool ourselves yet further when we ask for freedom within our working life. But can we free ourselves from the very prospect of freedom?


Making Worlds invites you to "Building the Commons"
Making Worlds’s 2nd Forum on the Commons

Friday, March 29, 6 PM to 10 PM (dinner included)
Saturday, March 30, 10 AM to 8PM (meals included)
At: The Commons Brooklyn, 388 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn 11217 [directions at bottom of msg.]

"Making Worlds: a Commons Coalition” was formed during the occupation of Zuccotti Park in order to bring projects working to reclaim the commons to the fore of the Occupy movement.

Initially Occupy Wall St (OWS) focused on protests against corporate greed and income inequality. However, many OWS supporters understand the movement as a way of creating solutions to inequality and envisioning a future inspired by the concept of the “commons.” Commons can be defined as resources managed and sustained by the communities that make use of them. The commons belong to the 99% yet are endangered by privatization and commodification.

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