"Using the phrase 'How we aim to work', the June issue of Texte zur Kunst brings together contributions by authors who have been associated with the magazine for a long time and who have shaped its debates along the way. Instead of specifying a thematic focus, we left it to the contributors to decide which questions relating to their current research interests they wanted to address. The selected texts are mostly extracts from long-term research projects and therefore function as 'work samples'. They expand on topics for which, faced with the deadlines always bearing down on them, the authors usually don’t find time. Thus, this issue contains drafts of texts – “goodies from the study”, if you like – that would otherwise remain in the drawer and that for now avoid the logic of direct exploitation. We invited the authors to develop these texts without requiring that they align, as is so often the case, with a designated theme.
"It is precisely the conditions out of which they developed and the different formats of these contributions – from collaborative authorship; to narrative, literary essays; all the way to monographic and performative, artistic treatises – that stand for a different approach to the fields of university research, project-oriented collaborations, artistic dealings, and the thematic 'private passions' of our authors. Such an approach would run counter to the often sobering coercion of activity and effectiveness that characterizes working conditions today. The authors’ willingness to share “work samples” from their ongoing projects can also be understood as a reaction against the pressure of having to be flexible and active in various ways in both one’s professional and private life – in order to expand one’s network through a quick succession of projects and to ensure the existence of future projects. Especially in the field of immaterial labor, the 'projective city' diagnosed by Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello in 1999 is more effective than ever."
"The bureaucratic longue durée of the academic market is counterbalanced by ultra-fast personal projects. Philosopher Graham Harman recounts writing his book The Quadruple Object (2011) in six weeks – and live-blogging about it, thus pressuring himself to finish on time. The final draft took 86 hours and 34 minutes to complete. Graham lauds the liberating effect imposed by circumstances: 'Simply by identifying all the operating constraints on a given project, one’s room for free decision is narrowed and focused to a manageable range, and the specters of nothingness and infinity soon dissipate in the rising sun. When that happens, it becomes possible to summarize your life’s work in a mere six weeks of writing.' Regardless of whether this is truly a model even within Harman’s field, it is hard to see how such a “summarizing” approach could be applied to most disciplines in the humanities, such as art history. In that case, a sweeping synthesis or programmatic statement could certainly be whipped up in a limited amount of time (after a life’s work of de facto preparation), but the very existence of the discipline depends on painstaking and often lengthy historical research.