Reject Me by Special guest
State Scrounging as Means of Production
The social security and benefits system in the United Kingdom provides a means of production for artists*, enabling them to live at a subsistence level of dole autonomy and use nearly all their time for their own projects. The benefit system includes housing benefit, which allows the artist to rent a one bedroom flat and have the rent paid by local [...]
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“Reject me” in the form of a preliminary idea was submitted the first but was approved among the latest. The jury has had a long and heated debate with some members objecting against the project, while the other ones were defending the idea.
The Special Guests’ project addresses the heart of the work society, where on the one hand the amount of available jobs gets reduced through rationalisation and outsourcing and on the other hand the public discourse still acts as if we lived in times of full employment. It is an example of the individual dealing with the complexity of taking a job vs. following personal interests; selling the own working force vs. being able to benefit from the general productivity of fully developed capitalism; forcing oneself into freelancing jobs vs. applying for governmental benefits.
„Reject Me!“ also addresses the situation in Dortmund (the venue of Readme 100), where the ongoing structural change from metal and coal industry towards information technologies set free a large amount of workforce of (now) under qualified workers. 17,2% of official unemployment means that about 98600 Dortmund inhabitants (of 580000) are able to consume commodities, housing, and energy through social benefits only. Social security benefits thus also stabilize local and global businesses.
Bringing to discussion not only the issues of the state of today’s capitalist society, but also questions of personal choice and ethics, “Reject me” turns out to be a true manifold artistic work, making one think on the general laws of the global economy, while the other focus on what the lifestyle presented by the work could mean for the local society and the individual.
The European welfare state is going through transformation since roughly the 1970-s, causing fights between governments and people. Radically uncovering the ever-going struggle the project presents a strong statement in many discussions: from the one of economy of art, to the one of neo-liberalism, to the one of identity formation, to the one of the object of art.
“Reject me” uses a well-known form. It transcends from software used to cheat systems, letters generation wizards, and other various online forms. Filling in an online form so similar to many others could become an illegal act today, which is still so surprising.
Francis Hunger, Olga Goriunova
by admin, posted 15 Feb 2006