BLISS Design Studio (BMLab)
Register to get a free digital copy of #FREE_Lances: tinyurl.com/3hlbu5e2
[Philippines] Greys Lockheart, Kanade Yagi, Tanya Villanueva, Jared Jonathan Luna
[Japan] Sakura Koretsune, Miki Nozaki, Ness Roque, Kris Yoshie
[Indonesia] Taufik Darwis, Riksa Afiaty, Theodora Agni
[Cambodia] Meta Moeng
[Main proponents] Con Cabrera, Renan Laru-an, J Pacena II / BMLab
Project Description by BMLab
The publication FREE-Lances is inspired by the history of the word “freelance”. During an extraordinary time of a new pandemic, we turn to its initial documentation that divides the nomenclature into “Free” and “Lances”. FREE-Lances taps the value and direction of these two terms through a hyphen that experiences and imagines the inter-inventive work and the interdependent position of a freelancer.
The image of medieval freelancing has undoubtedly evolved from being a paid mercenary working for the highest bidder to today’s cheapest and most efficient contractor available
for the job. This is a story so familiar among us that it makes freelance an anecdotal historiography and a shared synecdoche in the narratives of precarity. Everybody knows a freelancer, and all of us are freelancing. A sweeping generalization that awards tenure to our status as neoliberal peasants in the shifting ecologies of contemporary labor.
For FREE-Lances, we acknowledge these ongoing discourses that frame the conversations, critiques, and calls for action in the gig economy. In our online publication, we don’t want to change any effort that has been initiated or sustained to address the problems and histories of freelancing. For what it’s worth, we don’t propose any new alternatives here. With FREE-Lances, we gather public reflections of artists and cultural
workers in a period of isolation, limited mobility, and extended job insecurity. The goal might be as direct as connection; but ultimately it promises an opportunity to listen to an elaborate response to, How have you been? I hope this email finds you well.
The inaugural issue of FREE-Lances has invited practitioners mostly based in Southeast Asia and Japan. They are frequently associated with freelancing or self-identifying as freelance workers. Each of their contribution has a different relationship to the concept. And while they carry the label in various degrees of commitment before the pandemic, the term now unravels into a language that unifies the diversity in interests and understanding of the word. Some believe this to be a gesture of solidarity. For our purposes at FREE-Lances, the collection of personal reports and professional reflections accounts for the active participation of freelancers to the past, present, and future of business-as-(un)usual, at least in contemporary arts.