Many cultural workers are freelancers that constantly need to navigate themselves and compete with others in a wild economy; complicating the possibility of collective organisation. Sébastien Piquemal says that working in culture as a “maker”, one has to constantly create a lot of applications to get gigs and get paid, ‘Through constant networking and selling myself, I started to feel like I was prostituting myself’.
Late capitalism, marketing, the internet, and labour are at the core of Sebastien’s practice. As a response to his disappointment with the lack of possibilities for the arts to challenge the dogma of competition, he set up a record label that releases experimental music through spam called racolage.xxx.
Struggling to be visible between the overload of music that is offered on common platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube, Piquemal decided to release music through videos on porn sites and make dating profiles to share music with matches. Since other businesses don’t want to promote their activities there, his content consequently got a lot of views.
Piquemal’s graduation work is a web-essay: a collection of visual documents, a bibliography, and a series of short textual essays. These pieces each share the same approaches to the overarching theme of individualism in late-capitalist society. Presented in a hexagonal shape, they each form a beehive-like structure on hyperexistence.me. The beehive can be associated with a concept of community, shared labour, and the loss of individuality. The website functions as a map thatwhich can be explored by clicking, watching, and reading in any order.
Piquemal aims for his project, which is reflective and self-questioning, to motivate other cultural workers to question their ways of working and their relation to labour.
He consciously chooses the website as a medium and platform for political and artistic practice as the internet is the backbone of the global network economy upon which his project is reflecting.
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Sound in New Media