The Metropolitan Factory: making a living as a creative worker
Surviving as a cultural or artistic worker in the city has never been easy. Creative workers find themselves celebrated as engines of economic growth, economic recovery and urban revitalization even as the conditions for our continued survival become more precarious.
How can you make a living today in such a situation? That is, how to hold together the demands of paying the rent and bills while managing all the tasks necessary to support one’s practice? How to manage the tensions between creating spaces for creativity and imagination while working through the constraints posed by economic conditions?
In a more traditional workplace it is generally easy to distinguish between those who planned and managed the labor process and those who were involved in its executions: between the managers and the managed. For creative workers these distinctions become increasingly hard to make. Today the passionate and self-motivated labor of the artisan increasingly becomes the model for a self-disciplining, self-managed labor force that works harder, longer, and often for less pay precisely because of its attachment to some degree of personal fulfillment in forms of engaging work. And that is no way to make a living, having to struggle three times as hard to have a sense of engagement in meaningful work.
This project sets out to investigate how cultural workers in the modern metropolis manage these competing tensions and demands. The goal is to bring together the dispersed knowledges and experiences of creative workers finding ways to make a living in the modern metropolis. And by doing that to create a space to learn from these common experiences that often are not experienced as such while we work away in different parts of the city.