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


Productive Frictions


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.

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contact: communalleisure@gmail.com