In mid-2008 the editor of Turbulens.net Peder Holm-Pedersen brought together film director and author Jørgen Leth and Sverre Raffnsøe, Professor of Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School and head of the research program Management of Self-Management, to talk about rules, freedom and productivity in art and the modern workplace. We reprint a translated version of the conversation in this issue.
Released in 2003 by internationally renowned Danish directors Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth, The Five Obstructions is a short film, 88 minutes long. As will be evident in this section of the special issue, however, this ‘minor’ work is also a unique, dense, multi-layered, and intriguing piece of art, with a wide range of implications.
In recent years, much of our economy – and now, almost the entirety of our global media – has come to rest on a public display of authenticity: ads that bemoan the notion of the sales pitch, heartfelt apologies by perpetrators of large-scale bank frauds or environmental disasters that run on the evening news, and the possibility that our own financial worries may cease when we are made the stars of our own reality television programs. These are all common aspects of modern life.
Between 1751 and 1772 Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert published their Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raissoné des sciences, des arts et des metiers. The work, of which the Discours Préliminaire des Éditeurs could be seen as the programmatic outline, is nowadays often regarded as one of the monuments of European Enlightenment. It formed an enormous project which had an almost gargantuan aim that reached beyond the geographical borders of France.
Critical Management Studies (CMS) has been quite successful at establishing a respectable place for itself within the academic community; at least in the UK, it is associated with well-recognised journals, conferences and key figures (Grey and Willmott, 2002; Rowlinson and Hassard, 2011).
In art and art education, when those representing protest speak, write, perform, or otherwise distribute their labours, they encounter a conflict of consumption. This conflict is fought over the returnability of such actions into the system of funding, validation, and recognition that generally defines the climate of art’s research culture today – a research culture dominated, on the whole, by contemporary neoliberal policies in UK education.