PIG - STRATA : Protocols for Reshaping the Art World

Q: Title (same as in your application form)

STRATA : Protocols for Reshaping the Art World

Q: Team member names

@reminagreenfield @SaraSimon

Q: Short summary of your improvement idea

The protocols of the global fine arts world, its corresponding industries and labor practices, remain largely opaque and precarious to even its most seasoned participants. The standards of this world are often created ad hoc among relatively siloed and autonomous studios, galleries, and institutions, with cascading, yet unspoken human and material consequences.

Drawing from twelve years of combined experience working at internationally-renowned art studios and a close network of peers working at various levels of industry, we will use our unique perspective and industry connections to gather insights into how the global fine arts world actually works and publish best practice guidelines for navigating the esoteric strata of the art world as an individual art world laborer.

Q: What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance?

In the long term, we would significantly improve art world industry and labor practices across the board. In the short term, we are looking to improve the means by which art world laborers and the strata they occupy are visible to and able to communicate with one another.

Q: What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

Our idea is to study the strata, the unseen and unknown layers of those who make up the art world, including their needs, currencies, relationships, and (in)visibilities. Revealing and linking these mostly invisible strata will provide much-needed clarity to the entire arts community. This will allow a better understanding of those who are essential to the creation of the objects and experiences we find so inspiring and meaningful.

Q: What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol?

Experiential Observation: We have worked intimately in the studios of notably two of the most innovating and versatile artists of our time, Anicka Yi and Pierre Huyghe. Through these experiences of concept creation, research, production, installation, exhibition, negotiation and communication, sales and financial administration, our understanding of how art is made gives us a unique vantage point to investigate existing art world protocols.

Interviews with Network of Art Workers: We are worker-led and position ourselves internal to arts production, though often outside of formal institutions. Since the summer of 2023 we have been establishing a word-of-mouth global network between the strata of art workers we know. This diverse network embodies people working within the arts from fabrication to institutional support, from freelancers to employees, and from artists studios to creative studios. Learning and hearing the needs of and prototyping solutions with this community, for this community, is our highest interest.

Collating Existing Art World Protocol: Unearthing is our first task. In addition to the direct input from art workers themselves, we will collect as many existing art world public and private datasets, annual reports, summaries, etc. to better make links between art world domains including studios, foundries, fabrication houses, galleries, museums, auction houses, etc.

Q: In what form will you prototype your improvement idea?

We will create draft summaries of existing art world protocol along with suggested improvements. We will iterate through rounds of feedback of acceptance/rejection from our network. In parallel, we will build these summaries into an interactive web-based experience, designed to inform in a creative, explorable, visual way.

Q: How will you field-test your improvement idea?

We will run a series of round table discussions with key members of the art community, representing diverse strata and stakeholders within the art world.

Q: Who will be able to judge the quality of your output?

Key organizations, including: Artist Rights Society, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E), Museums Moving Forward, and the Serpentine Galleries Legal Lab.

Q: How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea?

We will develop an explorable, web-based experience, designed to be informative, creative, and open-sourced. For accessibility, a condensed downloadable PDF version will be provided.

Q: What is the success vision for your idea?

Our vision is to reveal the unspoken protocol of the art world and make global recommendations for improvement to increase the collective knowledge and empowerment of all those who work in the arts. A successful vision would see all art laborers given greater credit for their contributions and able to locate themselves and communicate freely among a network of peers. Our utmost hope would be that art laborers, practicing artists, and art institutions become inspired by our protocol improvements and incorporate them into their daily practices.