Haunting Space―Emerging Markets, Emerging Artists and the Working Class Spectre

Kevin DOOLEY discussed aspects of his project Art Workers Inquiry in a guest lecture. The talk/discussion meandered through various ideas and phenomena from a “social factory perspective”—a perspective in which everyday life is hypothesized as the site of work and exploitation, so that the boundaries between categories such as culture and labor become blurred in a “factory without walls” or scenario in which labor relations have escaped the factory and subsumed all of society. It helps identify those moments in which one is working for free, or even paying to work, and reveals the “ghosts of labor” within every cultural artifact, showing that every exhibition is also a “ghost”. It also has the potential to ground a different and more broadly defined workers’ movement and facilitate a practical understanding of the current and enduring “crisis”—a matter of urgency in times of austerity, cutbacks and the destruction of commons.

Examined phenomena included, among other things, a poster from Middlesex University, some animations, the smartphone game Draw Something!, the Ghostbusters movies, an idea for a Student Workers’ Union, and some artifacts from a student occupation movement in Austria.

An event in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck, Institute of Languages and Literatures, Department of Comparative Literature.

Kevin DOOLEY (*1983 in Hastings/UK) lives and tries to work in Vienna. His work history includes six years in a supermarket, butchery, teaching, city tours and translating. He has an ever-increasing student debt of £12,500 (as of July 2013). Dooley spends a lot of time in the unemployment office. His work on the project Art Workers Inquiry, Part II: Spectres, part of his first-ever artist-in-residence program, felt like a holiday from unemployment with reduced wages. After visiting a political therapist and a relationship counselor, Dooley decided to be more polygamous and to focus on unionizing as a form of therapeutic empowerment.


Universität Innsbruck
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck
SR 40112