Special Issue "Eight Hours Labour, Eight Hours Recreation, Eight Hours Rest: What We Will Need Is More Time for What We Will (?)"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2021) | Viewed by 8808

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Helena Elias
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Fine Arts, VICARTE University of Lisbon, 1249-058 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: artistic research; collaborative research; performativity; public art; visual arts
Prof. Dr. Cláudia Madeira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NOVA Institute of Communication (ICNOVA), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 1069-061 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: performance; theatre; performativity; stage photography; sustainability; hybridism
Prof. Dr. Anne Douglas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen AB10 7AQ, UK
Interests: artistic research; art and ecology; art in public life; art and the absurd; experimental arts practice
Prof. Dr. Cristina Pratas Cruzeiro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Art History, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 1069-061 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: public art; political intervention of art; performativity; participation; contemporary arts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The working-class claim “eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest” (8–8–8) was born with the Industrial Revolution. While projecting the right to balance work, rest and free time, this claim has engendered a way of life based on a purely utilitarian notion of time in relation to human life. The time of work and the time of leisure have become de-regulated within capitalism. Human beings have, as a consequence, become alienated from the temporalities and processes on which life itself depends. Industrialisation in parallel with capitalism, the economic system that still dominates the world today, relies on human beings consuming more and more within a globalised mono culture, a way of being that undermines the capacity for life to sustain itself by means of diversity.

Artists have increasingly turned towards such issues, re-awakening a sense of social commitment and urgency. They are seeking to bring to the foreground different temporalities and qualities of experience, spanning the private and intimate with the public, engaging with conflict or mere indifference. Many are seeking to re-instate notions of public interest and welfare of individuals, family and community as a critical counterpoint to neoliberalism, an extreme form of capitalism that has taken market rationality to its limits.

Artists are exploring new ways of imagining time, space and experience performatively often transgressing accepted norms in ways that enable us to come to terms with our entanglement within current circumstances and to open up to radical alternatives. They do so in different ways; by writing manifestos, engaging in new forms of pedagogy and generating forms of social and political action in everyday life.

At the beginning of 2021 and in the context of a global pandemic crisis, we therefore find it urgent to analyse how artists have reflected on the impacts of capitalism; on their forms of disruption in the routines of daily life, from working to eating, sleeping and leisure, and in our relationships with the natural environment. As Murray Edelmen says, art “supports a menu of models” (1995) that can produce “alternative scripts” for social, political and environmental transformation.

This Arts Special Issue welcomes proposals that inform our understanding of a range of practices and projects from various geographies and temporalities, as well as critical perspectives.  These may take a variety of forms including full research papers, accounts/reviews of particular works/projects/books either as experienced or as created by the author, manifestos or creative proposals. Our aim is to understand how art supports us in questioning the binary between nature and culture and value in public life through proposing alternative ways of being.  Submissions should address the following core question:

How do artistic practices and their dynamics embrace the complexity and contradictions of the current socio-political and environmental crisis and offer alternatives?

Authors are invited to address this question from different perspectives and in a range of historical and local contexts, from the intimacy of private life to public life, from human to non-human perspectives, from the urban to the rural, from desire to transgression. The proposed papers may cover the following areas of artistic practice and research:

  • Art and society in crisis
  • About, through and with: art and the environmental crisis
  • Art and the political sphere
  • Performance and performativity e.g. new rituals of daily live (work, leisure, sleep)

Prof. Dr. Helena Elias
Prof. Dr. Cláudia Madeira
Prof. Dr. Anne Douglas
Prof. Dr. Cristina Pratas Cruzeiro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
An Interview with Gregory Sholette about the Precarious Workers Pageant Project
Arts 2022, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010018 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 886
Abstract
PrecariousWorkers Pageant[...] Full article
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Editorial
About Performance: A Conversation with Richard Schechner
Arts 2022, 11(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010014 - 06 Jan 2022
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Richard Schechner is University Professor Emeritus at New York University (https://tisch [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Becoming a Part of the Houyhnhnm’s Environment
Arts 2022, 11(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11020046 - 25 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
R. Goto Collins and T. Collins are environmental artists. Their goal is to challenge their own subjectivity through research and practice. Reiko’s interest in relational and collaborative artwork with the more-than-human world goes back to the 1980s. In 2014, she decided to engage [...] Read more.
R. Goto Collins and T. Collins are environmental artists. Their goal is to challenge their own subjectivity through research and practice. Reiko’s interest in relational and collaborative artwork with the more-than-human world goes back to the 1980s. In 2014, she decided to engage a horse (Darkness) as a collaborative partner, with Tim’s support. In this article, the reader will find a reflection on a creative inquiry between a horse, two humans and their shared environment. How a practice (of being with) might reveal an evolving subjectivity (becoming) with a horse? With a foundation of reading and practical testing of Edith Stein’s ideas in we then looked to Charles Sanders Pierce’s work on signs. This would provide a structure that enabled us to appreciate and process the range of signs discovered as we sought to communicate across species. Specific questions include: does Darkness interact with and adapt to changes in his environment? Is he self-aware and evolving through life experience, uniquely engaged with his environment? By recognizing and supporting his life and intelligence, would he reveal a world Tim and I were immersed in but could not perceive? How could we communicate that world through arts-based research? Full article
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Article
The Times of Caring in a Nuclear World: Sculpture, Contamination and Stillness
Arts 2022, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010007 - 31 Dec 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
Care takes time. Caring, whether with, for, or about a living being or entity that is more-than-human, disrupts expectations of how a linear, human time should progress. To practice care for the contaminated, the lands, waters, and animate life altered by human industry, [...] Read more.
Care takes time. Caring, whether with, for, or about a living being or entity that is more-than-human, disrupts expectations of how a linear, human time should progress. To practice care for the contaminated, the lands, waters, and animate life altered by human industry, is to extend that indeterminacy into distant, deeper time. Aesthetic representation of the affective and ethical dimensions of care, in this extreme, offers an experience that can transfer the arguments about nuclear contamination into more nuanced and sensed responses and contributes to current thinking about care in the arts worlds. I was commissioned to make a sculpture exhibition in 2020 as part of an anthropological study into the future of the Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria, UK. The exhibition, ‘x = 2140. In the coming 120 years, how can humans decide to dismantle, remember and repair the lands called Sellafield?’, consisted of three sculptural ‘fonts’ which engaged with ideas of knowledge production, nuclear technologies, and the affective dimensions of care about/for/with the contaminated lands and waters. This article presents my intentions for the sculptures in their context of a nuclear-dependent locale: to engage with the experience of nuclear futures without adversarial positioning; to explore the agential qualities of the more-than-human; and to create a stillness expressive of the relationality of the human and the contaminated through which one could fathom what care might feel like. These intentions are alongside theories of time, aesthetics, and care across disciplines: care and relational ethics, science and technology studies, and nuclear culture. Full article
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Article
Parasomnia: Sleep against Capitalism
Arts 2022, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010001 - 21 Dec 2021
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Abstract
Parasomnia (2019), a site-specific participatory performance by Patrícia Portela (PT/BE), addresses sleep in its biological and cultural meanings while retrieving its historicity. Sleep is one of the last resistance gestures against capitalised lives, opening a gap for social change through the aesthetic dimension [...] Read more.
Parasomnia (2019), a site-specific participatory performance by Patrícia Portela (PT/BE), addresses sleep in its biological and cultural meanings while retrieving its historicity. Sleep is one of the last resistance gestures against capitalised lives, opening a gap for social change through the aesthetic dimension as an extension of arts in politics. Parasomnia raises awareness for empathy and unproductiveness by inviting spectators to take a massage and eating delicacies. Bodily senses are therefore a way to activate potentials and becomings. Often understood as weaknesses and vulnerabilities, the actions elicited—contemplating, caring, and resting—bring up a strength and a capacity to arouse the imagination and fabulation as political acts. It is also argued that dimensions such as fantasmatic, cyclicity, and subjectivity are key social outputs of Parasomnia. Allowing for a pause in a continuous stream of goals, of connectivity and consumption, and without commodification purposes, sleep may return us to a sense of our own interiority made of several layers: like a fall into the sleep that enables alterity to emerge inside the self. Full article
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Article
Learning Arts Organisations: Innovation through a Poetics of Relation
Arts 2021, 10(4), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040083 - 02 Dec 2021
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Abstract
Arts organisations have had to reimagine their ways of working, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has severely challenged the venue-based sectors and exposed the fragility of the existing business model of the ‘receiving house’. We use a specific example [...] Read more.
Arts organisations have had to reimagine their ways of working, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has severely challenged the venue-based sectors and exposed the fragility of the existing business model of the ‘receiving house’. We use a specific example to address the following question: In what sense can artists lead organisational innovation, learning and change? We analyse Riffing the Archive: Building a Relation by MARIE ANTOINETTE (MA), an artist duo from Portugal, and their collaboration with the Barn, a multi-art centre in Banchory, Scotland, during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. Édouard Glissant, a Martinique-born poet and philosopher, underpins both MA’s practice and our analysis. We draw on the key concepts of his relational philosophy, including archipelago, opacity, and disaffiliation, to clarify how MA work, what they have offered the Barn and what they can offer to other art organisations seeking innovation and organisational learning. MA’s nuanced approach, informed by Glissant, reconfigures the relationship between the artists and the art organisation and challenges existing assumptions through discontinuous and new thinking, while building a non-confrontational relationship with the Barn. It contributes to both organisational studies and arts research by highlighting the significance of MA’s approach to organisational innovation. Full article
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Article
Giving Absurdity Form: The Place of Contemporary Art in the Environmental Crisis
Arts 2021, 10(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040081 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Absurdity in art creates bizarre juxtapositions that expose, and question conflicted, even dangerous, aspects of life which have become normalized. Absurd art appears in troubled times, subverting moments of extreme contradiction in which it appears impossible to think differently. For example, Dada (1917–1923) [...] Read more.
Absurdity in art creates bizarre juxtapositions that expose, and question conflicted, even dangerous, aspects of life which have become normalized. Absurd art appears in troubled times, subverting moments of extreme contradiction in which it appears impossible to think differently. For example, Dada (1917–1923) used nonsense to reflect the nonsensical brutality of WW1. The power to unsettle in this form of art rests in disrupting the world of the viewer and positioning them as interlocutors in a new framing. Absurdity in art reveals the absurdity that is inherent in life and its institutions, breaking the illusion of control. It can help us to comprehend the ‘incomprehensible’ in other species and spheres of life. In the challenge of anthropogenic climate change, how might the absurd capture the strangeness of current times in which a gap is widening between the earth we live ‘in’ and the earth we live ‘from’? This article explores qualities of the absurd in art as a possible way in which to grasp and reimagine ourselves beyond the anthropocentric, focusing on the work of the artists John Newling (b. 1952, UK) and Helen Mayer (1927–2018, US) and Newton Harrison (b. 1932, US), known as ‘The Harrisons’. Full article
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Communication
Power of the Temporary: Social Art in Spaces of Transitional Living
Arts 2021, 10(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10040078 - 25 Nov 2021
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Abstract
This communication paper addresses the role of ephemeral and temporary artistic interventions into the systemic problem of homelessness and the question of sustainability in social art practice. I approach these issues through my work with homeless service agencies that are shaped by rules [...] Read more.
This communication paper addresses the role of ephemeral and temporary artistic interventions into the systemic problem of homelessness and the question of sustainability in social art practice. I approach these issues through my work with homeless service agencies that are shaped by rules and procedures intended to increase predictability, whereas, as an artist, my work resists such rigidity by carving out space for spontaneity, vulnerability, and renewal. The dilemma of sustaining socially engaged art long-term raises particular questions within the context of institutions such as these. Can a project be successful as a temporary intervention within systems of predictability? If a project does become sustainable in the long-term, is there a way it can retain a level of energy incited by newness and unexpectedness? I discuss these issues in the context of two of my long-term projects, Beauty in Transition (2013–2016) and Choreographing Care (2016–2021), both working within homeless service agencies. Beauty in Transition was a pop-up mobile hair salon offering free haircare for transitional housing residents. Choreographing Care, a project supporting homeless service staff, started as a socially engaged art project and was adopted into an emergency shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A as an organizational initiative. The ideas I discuss in this paper are supported and inspired by disciplines of research including care ethics of Gilligan, social behavioral science of Goffman, and approaches to participation discussed by Helguera and Kaprow. Full article
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