On Jan 29, 2007, at 6:00 PM, NEW-MEDIA-CURATING automatic digest
> Although I don't want to dampen the interesting theoretical threads
> here unnecessarily, I do note that nobody has answered Sarah's =20
> initial question, "how much is what you do worth?"
> I'm not a curator, so I can't say. As a practitioner/educator I
> would =20=
> say more than most middle managers in commercial companies, =20
> definitely more than a hairdresser, less than a CEO and about the =20
> same as a Creative Director in an ad agency. I can put a number to =20
> that if anyone would like.
> It's perhaps the lack of willingness to put out a clear price on
> what =20=
> we/you do that makes it so easy for it so be so quickly de-valued
> by =20
What makes the value of the hairdresser or the clerk or any other
number of jobs so easy to devalue then? Is it because they don't
attach a worth to their life, or because others so quickly do?
All of the above given examples of the economic spectrum offer no
analyses of what those archetypal positions are WORTH... only what
they can get. Not what they contribute to anything meaningful, but
what the contribute to the dominant political economy - how they help
those with privilege keep it.
i value Sean's statements on cultural value and class...
"What is a curator worth?", is an question IMHO. To ask the question
without interrogating the problematics of art culture in the larger
economy is pointless. Should curators be able to live off what they
do is to take for granted the ideological imperative that what we do
as "work" (i.e. profession) should play a role in the privileges we
have in society. If you're OK with that, and believe in social
darwinism and the free market, then the question makes perfect sense.
If not, why continue to reproduce the equation?
But we have to "work" to "make a living"? How does creating larger
landfills and stuff destined for landfills (much of it toxic) produce
conditions necessary for life? The symbolic regime we exist in needs
to be disentangled from how we value life and the life of others. We
could be asking how the economic struggles of many cultural producers
is related to, and can be joined with, other struggles against
oppression. So to answer the question from my perspective, and taking
a cue from Sean, a curator's worth can be determined by their efforts
at working against current inequity and for something else. There's
lots of disagreement on what that means sure, but again, one's
professional work shouldn't be linked to the ability to survive, so
"value" becomes political for me in these terms.
Anyone read Fromm's notes on a universal living wage? Only if we can
disentangle being able to eat, have shelter and participate in civic
discourse from our profession can we talk about what a curator is
worth. Otherwise, someone's "worth" is proportional to their
importance in upholding the system of inequitable privileges.
We have to be careful i think to not turn deCerteu's tactics into
ones of complacency and distraction... thinking that because we can
manage to survive despite oppression that we are somehow subverting it.
Sorry to get broad, naively idealistic and somewhat off topic... but
the convergence of this discussion and the one simultaneously
occurring on iDC is sparkly.