3:39p.m. 7 July 2016
Communal Leisure: Productive Frictions
For the expansion of collective aesthetic capacity.
1. ? > ‘DIY’
‘DIY’ has too often become nostalgic, co-optable and about simply escaping the status quo, rather
than changing it. For all the love we have for the term, it’s due a reassessment, and possible
replacement. We need to build critiques of the structures that deny people access to artistic
production and enjoyment: work, sexism, racism and other form of oppression and exclusion based
on gender, sexuality, ‘ability’, bodies and class, that ‘DIY’ has too often replicated itself.
2. Play > Work
We need to build a vision of leisure-time that is not predicated on someone else having to work
harder, but on a shared freedom from work and oppression. We take inspiration from the Paris
Commune and the Artist Federation there who, in rallying round ‘Communal Luxury’ – everyone
being able to practice and enjoy ‘art’ in its broadest sense, free from the production of value – made
the expansion of an artistic domain key to their fight, and linked it to campaigns for shorter work
hours and better pay. This means resisting and interrogating “the normalizing and moralizing ethic of
work” (Kathi Weeks) and valuing art and artists that 'don’t work’.
3. Process > Outcome
“What matters more than any images conveyed, laws passed, or institutions founded are the
capacities set in motion. You do not have to start at the beginning—you can start anywhere." (Kirstin
Ross). While not rejecting ideas of strategy and more long-term forms of sedition, we’ll aim to widen
our ideas of a ‘successful’ political project to encompass the creation of ideas, working solidarity and
group accountability, not just distant goals.
4. Shared Skills > Specialist Labour
Manual, intellectual, emotional, caring, artistic labour – most of us juggle a bunch, diffused along
lines of gender, class and race. Instead of carving niches and erecting gated artistic communities,
we’ll try dissecting these lines of division, shaking off our attachment to positions of power by
sharing the knowledge we’ve used to attain them. We’ll aim to combat tendencies towards
careerism, ‘professionalism’ and profit, and to understand how ‘specialisation’ in certain fields often
masks underpaid and unpaid forms of labour in others.
5. LOLz > Despair
Anxiety, depression, anguish: all very real symptoms of a contemporary work/life characterised by
precarious labour patterns, heavily attacked support services, and collective social surveillance.
While being active in examining these horrors, and aware of the despair we all face, we will also try
to find purchase through humour, ridicule and, you know… fun. We embrace the piss-take, the
absurd, the experimental and the satirical where possible; refusing the bland decrees of ‘happiness’
imposed by employers, but enjoying the resistance, care and freedom that can come through shared
Communal Leisure is a space for discussion and sharing of music, art and politics, based in Glasgow. We aim to unpack ideas of work, labour, ‘DIY’ culture, and leisure. Our online poster wall primarily features events that are non-profit, free or cheap, politically aware and implicitly or actively working against forms of oppression based on race, gender, sexuality, ability, bodies and class. We have an open collective of people working on both our print and online forms, and are always up for new people getting involved. Everyone is free to add their own event.