Reclaiming Social Relationality in Times of Structural Precarity
Keywords:Infrastructural performance, structural precarity, neoliberalism, performance art, collectivism, self-organisation
As freelance workers are living in inconstancy and increasing social isolation, a crucial question arises: how can solidarity be reclaimed through a critique of structural precarity? Precarity as a consequence of neoliberal working conditions is analysed and problematized across academic disciplines. Departing from Lauren Berlant’s description of structural precarity and Judith Butler’s elaborations on performativity, I propose the term infrastructural performance in order to portray artistic strategies which criticize inequality and organize collectively. I analyse the infrastructural performance of the performance art collective cobratheater.cobra to show how precarity has provoked organisational and artistic reconfigurations in the independent performance art scene. I demonstrate how features within the neoliberal work ethos such as the repetition of the artistic signature, individualisation, and the imperative of mobility are dismantled by the group’s infrastructural performance. I conclude that infrastructural performance criticises structural precarity through collective actions of infection, exposure, and disobedience. It is a new form of collective artistic organisation, which proposes the possibility of change in social and economic conditions. At the end of the article, I speculate how infrastructural performance might change the conception of the art work itself.
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