Social Economy of Art Production / by Jonathan Raissi

The externalization of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside of him, independently of him and also alien to him, and confronts him as an autonomous power. -Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life

Lefebvre's assessment of the labor/product power relation allows us to consider the transference and fluidity of the product's autonomy as a commodified force in the ether of mass labor divisions. The kindling to that autonomy appears at first to be the work, which is to say the inherent disenfranchising nature of labor and production of substance. When applied to the production of art, - as I feel there is ubiquity to this theory of productive alienation - is it impossible to produce something then that does not abolish the autonomy of they who created it? This is assuming the piece is not inducted into the public realm. The relationship between author and authored begins insulated and pure but convention states it lacks value unless it is peered at by others. It is therefore throwing the product of the work into the fold of public interpretation that divorces the autonomy of the art-laborer over the art-product. This can perhaps be seen as troublesome OR an opportunity to allow the work to be self-aware and subsequently critical of the very public life that unwinds the original dynamics of art production. Perhaps we should force the legitimizing public view to gaze at the very labor that it disenfranchises; by way of content distortions, self-aware discordance and playful surrealism.