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5 February 2024


Room 6.02, Bartlett School of Architecture

22 Gordon Street



United Kingdom

The ABC of the Projectariat: Precarious conditions of labour in creative industries: an Aleatoric performance and discussion

Freelance artists, designers and architects do projects in order to make a living. Those mobile projectarians roam the art world, where enthusiasm is paired with exclusion, mobility with poverty, self-entrepreneurialism with anxiety. Writer, curator and activist Kuba Szreder will dissect the ups and downs of this unpredictable existence in an aleatoric lecture, performing a random selection of entries from his recently published book The ABC of the Projectariat (2021). Beginning with “A is for Aftermath (of the pandemic)”, and concluding with “Y is for You are Not Alone”, this handbook addresses both the daily grind of projectarians through entries such as “A is for Applications” and “D is for Deadlines” and the systemic conditions of their labour. It reveals a harsh reality of winner-takes-it-all economy, structurally marked by competition and exclusion. Szreder’s performative lecture will be followed by an open discussion, focused on the practical modes of coping with the systemic pressures of highly networked world, devised and tested by projectarians themselves, such as interdependent self-organisation, mutual support, and other forms of action, art strikes, productive withdrawals, political struggles and better social time machines.

Kuba Szreder is a lecturer in the department of art theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, who combines his research with interdependent curatorial practice. He has made over a hundred projects as a freelance curator, writer, lecturer, and organiser. He has co-initiated and cooperated with numerous collectives, research clusters and artistic trade unions on local and international scales, such as Free/Slow University of Warsaw, the Centre for Plausible Economies in London and the Office for Postartistic Practices in Poland. He is author and editor of multiple readers, articles, and book chapters on theory and sociology of contemporary art. His latest is The ABC of the Projectariat: Living and Working in a Precarious Art World (2021). In this short lexicon, Szreder argues that, just as proletarians had nothing to lose but their chains, the projectarians have nothing to miss but their deadlines.

Co-hosted by the Situating Architecture Series, Bartlett School of Architecture; with the PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics & Aesthetics) platform at the FRINGE Centre, UCL SSEES / UCL IAS.



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