The outset of a broad and searching investigation.

A self-portrait of Wyatt Coday taken during NAVEL's warehouse sale in March 2024.

029 — Colonizing the ceasefire. Class struggle for the entreprecariat. Do self-employed artists dream of better working conditions.

DISPASSION is a newsletter about art, digital media, and emotional detachment produced by ‌NOR RESEARCH STUDIO.



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Cal Poly Humboldt student bonks riot police. Vietnamese billionaire sentenced to death over dubious business practices. Israeli artist participating in the Venice Biennale demands ceasefire from martyred Palestinian children. Hudson Yards suicide staircase reopens with bigger safety net. Italian museum mafia claps back at Minneapolis art institution over marble sculpture.   


The essay I wrote for this week ended up taking on one too many subjects. At a certain point while drafting, I recognized each deserved their own longform exploration — maybe even two or three apiece. So what follows is an introduction to ODE TO SELF-EMPLOYMENT, a project that will examine the murky relationship between artistic labor, self-employment, and gig work.

I’ve examined the first topic, academia and specifically the humanities, a few times in earlier newsletters but with less force. This time I’m feeling less dispassionate. The state of higher education and its impact on workers makes me sad. I’m skeptical that there is a solution to this problem — it’s more likely that academia is the problem — but I have a few ideas for minor changes that could make a lasting difference.

I view the second topic, liability, as a practical example of those suggested changes. Liability is one of the many legal and financial concepts that are fundamental to running a successful creative business but which receive little to no attention in collegiate art programs — even at the graduate level. For whatever reason, teaching students practical skills remains an unpopular approach.

That dissection of liability was meant to introduce readers to the third topic, self-employment, which I’ve touched on previously. Self-employment is where my strongest interest lies, but it may not be a familiar experience to some readers who have never worked for themselves or held a management role at a company. As always, I’m looking for a word that is better than “entrepreneurialism” to describe the significance of self-employment and its Montessori-like benefits.

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