Taking the orchid as a prompt to think about the structural fragility of current labor economy – one increasingly built on short-term gigs and radical atomization – Dena Yago speaks about the demands affective labor (both within and external to art) is currently facing at the juncture of mechanical and digital industries, physical and immaterial labor. Assuming that the art world has a way of distancing itself from lived experience, her presentation involves a reading of notes taken in the context of recent experience as work-for-hire, revealing an impulse to document different registers of physical presence in the face of annihilatory labor. It speaks to the dilemma of many of us figuring out “how to get by” on a mainly private level while lacking an alignment with a shared collective consciousness about being members of a Precariat class, that we actually may be, either willingly or unwillingly.
The lecture is delivered vis-a-vis a backdrop mural the artist produces specifically for Pogo Bar, as an attempt to introduce an illustrated character as stand in for precariat subjectivity and to formulate a collective common ground for such experience.
Dena Yago’s practice as both an artist and a laborer in the creative industry involves an ongoing engagement with conditions of creative labor and its commodification; especially as “creativity” seems to be a backbone in service of contemporary neoliberalism. Her writing focusing on these subjects appears regularly in e-flux and Texte zur Kunst.