n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..


12/11/2014 - 02/01/2015 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Arbitrating Attention: Paid Usership


The key concern for what can by some be termed ‘Web 3.0’ is the giving of data freely and the debate over control of public time and space. With the increasing loss of state and public monies, privatization is becoming more prevalent and almost an accepted means of replacement within neo-liberal governments. How does this affect cultural practitioners working in an expansive sector that is increasingly incorporating other fields of inquiry, along with its financial systems and structures of support in processes of art-related activities? One draws on one’s network to find and invite collaborators, participants, partners, and contributors to projects without necessarily having allotted funds for honoraria. In the cultural sector money isn’t readily available and the most common way, in many non-wage sectors at least, is to be paid with attention as return. This payment is measured through visibility politics, quantified by social media, e-flux mailings, list servers and printed matter, which then accrue and gain value, resulting in social capital.

Why do some artists/cultural producers not demand to be paid for their endeavours? Even more than for reputation economy or attention economy they do this for ‘self-actualisation’. Through their work as artists or in cultural projects, activism, ecologies, etc. they engender a sense of community, provide mutual support, obtain personal growth, create readership and potentially, inplement ‘paid usership’. For some cultural producers, time is money, gift economies are reciprocal and attention economies fulfilling. Yet if we spread our data, give our time, remit our rights of privacy and right to remuneration, how can we create other systems of negotiation and payment? This forum will bring together a range of positions that address economies that are all in use or are being used: attention, reputational, gift, debt, community, informal, collaborative, performative, post-industrial, human, sharing, etc.

This online forum was presented at Digital Labour 2014 (#DL14) and has been partially supported by Leuphana University's Digital Cultures Research Lab. Please sign up as a user if you wish to comment.