Contemporary.Institute investigates and highlights endeavors in the contemporary art field that are creating real agency for artists and art workers. Our focus is on technological and pedagogical innovations, activist interventions, and political organizing that are working toward meaningful alternatives to the political economy of contemporary art production.
Our goal with Contemporary.Institute is, firstly, to highlight individual and collective efforts to formulate paths to greater political equity and increased creative autonomy in material terms––not simply through symbolic gestures. Secondly, we want to make the case for practices that are willing to risk abandoning conventional artistic strategies to creatively experiment with the economic, legal, and techno-institutional structures that frame the art field and beyond. Granting profit and gain to artists requires an assessment of their substantial financial and social impact. This living labor, however, remains routinely appropriated, portioned, and consolidated for the benefit of a few. The art market is distinct for its embalming of the means of production in a guild-like cartelization, while the rentier class (collectors, auction houses. etc.) deploy the most sophisticated financial tools to extract surplus value. As it turns out this condition not only mirrors wealth disparity in the general economy but serves as an indicator of intensifications to come. Rather than buckling, it is artists that have begun providing creative tools to navigate the precarious road ahead. In fact, a variety of practices and projects have emerged in the global art field that creatively negotiate the antinomies of creative destruction. Contemporary.Institute will highlight these projects while seeking out new examples to draw together affinities, buttressing a political consciousness of cooperation augmented by new technologies and working methods: from cryptocurrencies to debt strikes.