Iterations and moments of work and unwork: some texts and some images

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art
Iterations and Moments of Work and Unwork: Some Texts and Some Images, consists of a series of both academic and experimental textual works, as well as a large number of images derived from my personal archive. The aim of the textual and visual materials presented is to investigate the various forms of artistic labour practices and processes (which are broadly referred to using the word ​work​). These themes derive from a deep personal interest in the methods artists use to produce their artwork and from an exasperation with the intense academic and artistic focus on product, final outcome and finality in general. The textual elements of this thesis are separated into chapters, reflecting four broad subject matters: ​Work​, ​Materials,​ ​Time and ​Workless-Work​, which may be read out of order. These subject matters constitute spectrums through which the main topic of artistic labour practices and processes is viewed and discussed. In these chapters, artistic processes are presented, both by recounting my personal experiences with making artistic artifacts, and through the study of other artists and their methods. These discussions are augmented with the study of writers and theorists from a number of fields, in order to draw connections from other disciplines and try to situate the study of artistic process within a broader art theory, artistic research or aesthetics context. Ultimately, questions about the value of this kind of study, or the value of artistic process in itself, are asked, and bring up more elemental discussions surrounding what constitutes process-based artistic labour to begin with as well as what the structure of this kind of labour is. Both the style of writing and the possibility of reading chapters in any order, intend to imitate/reflect the process of art making. I conclude by expressing the notion that the study of artistic process, either practically or theoretically may constitute a form of artistic research or research more broadly. The images presented in the latter, image based section of this thesis are not accompanied by any captions. They are, however, placed in a deliberate order, and are meant to provide an additional visual narrative to the texts. These images depict both intentional and complete fine-art imagery, as well as unintentional and incomplete, sketch-like and collage-like imagery.
Rajanti, Taina
Thesis advisor
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work, un-work, anti-work, artistic labour, artistic process, process-based practice, artistic practice, artistic research
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