Material Conditions of Production and Hidden Romantic Discourses in New Media Artistic and Creative Practices


  • Ruth Pagà¨s
  • Gemma San Cornelio


Despite today’s ruling of neoliberal capitalism, New Media Art could be regarded as a place of resistance, where radical ideologies such as communist utopias and other social discourses are able to proliferate and spread through social connectivity. [1] By looking into this apparent contradiction, we find that whereas New Media Art-work discourses are full of passion,
self-realization, freedom, creativity, anti-capitalist values, etc., their material conditions of production are remarkably complex and operate on self-disciplinarity, flexibility, precarity, [2] [3]
and ”˜lottery economy’ work. [4] Moreover, the neoliberal regulation of ”˜mainstream and acceptable’ art as well as the creative aesthetic processes as potential economic sources of income has also extended these conditions to most new media creative practices,
which exist as separated from the mainstream art world. [5]

This paper endeavors to capture a detailed view of the previous assumption, based on the analysis of some examples and posing these material conditions side by side with the discourses of creative work, which rely almost solely on old romantic notions of creativity evoking the rewards of such work and yet, the relinquishments -in terms of stable work conditions- to be also made as a counterpart of creative grace. The research we present focuses on initiatives which mediate between creators and industry, specifically comparing the cases of the Talent Factory and Disonancias, both based in the Spanish territory.

  1. Some examples could be found in the early years of (as in the cases of ®TM Mark or Technologies to the People) and also currently in the social networks such as Wikipedia.
  2. M. Lazzarato, “Immaterial Labour,” in Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996) 133-147.
  3. A. McRobbie, “Making a Living in London’s Small-scale Creative Sector,” in Cultural Industries and the Production of Culture, ed. Dominic Power and Allen John Scott (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 130-146.
  4. A. Ross, Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times (New York: New York University Press, 2009).
  5. R. Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life (New York: Basic Books, 2002).