VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

Nelson Henricks
Marie J. Jean
Claire Savoie

Who Can Live on Products
of the Future?

Starting May 7, 2024

[This video is available in French only]

To this day, institutions and cultural policy makers contribute to maintaining visual artists in precarious, unproductive states, since their work remains, by and large, insufficiently recognized and therefore invisible. Borrowing the device of the “crazy wall,” this video essay takes the form of a visual inquiry showing various artists at work–from Camille Claudel to Gustave Courbet to feminist artists–with the goal of exposing the mechanisms of exploitation that continue to leave them at the economic margins.

Many artists, despite their professional status, continue to struggle with inadequate and even non-existent remuneration. Some observers even argue that the amassing of symbolic capital through artists’ works, as well as opportunities to exhibit them, can potentially increase their value on the art market. Is it legitimate to expect artists to pursue their work in the hope that they will one day gain social and economic acknowledgement? As Marx noted long ago, no worker can hope to live on future products.

A co-production of VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the UQAM Programme d’aide financière à la recherche et à la création (PAFARC).