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This is a conceptual art campaign that makes the invisible labor of an artist’s life visible.
109 backers pledged $11,799 to help bring this project to life.
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About

$11,799

109

As creatives, freelancers, contract and gig workers in the “1099 generation,” our labor is often devalued. We don’t receive health care, sick leave, or even paid time off. Tens of thousands of dollars in late invoices aren’t uncommon, pushing independent contractors into precarious situations, where carrying debt is the only way to survive. 

The livelihoods of creative individuals depend on a complex equation of art sales, side hustles, partners’ employment status and/or “secret” day jobs in order to cover living expenses and tools for creative practice. We need to have an honest conversation about art as labor, underlying systemic structures, and a conspiracy of silence, that prevent artists who don't have well-employed spouses, large pots of gold, a trust fund, or prior family wealth from making a living from their work.

The current system means that a huge percentage of artists are excluded from the conversation simply because they can't afford to participate. With your support (literally), we can make this project—and this conversation—happen together. 

Fuck This, Pay Me is a real-time conceptual artwork that reveals the practical aspects of life as an artist, including cash flow, performative social obligations, and other emotional and financial labor (both online as well as the physical investment that goes into making work). The purpose of this piece is to pull back the curtain on the gig economy for contract and creative labor, and to raise awareness of contemporary art practices as they relate to expression and survival under capitalism. 

I’m presenting Fuck This, Pay Me as a conceptual artwork through Kickstarter to emphasize that every dollar we spend is a political act. When we pay $25 for entrance to a museum, $9 for streaming Spotify, or $500 directly to an artist–we’re making a statement about our values and what we want to see more of in the world. 


Why is this important? 

In the art world–regardless of career stage–artists cover the costs for materials, production, fabrication, installation, travel, lodging, food, and standard living expenses while producing new works. This means we’re not only incurring the debt of production but we’re also not earning any money from our labor–the more we create, the more debt we must carry before the work is shown–and if the work does not sell, that debt is ours indefinitely including any interest rates tacked on by the credit card companies or banks. 

I’ve spent the last decade working as an artist and am successful enough to present my work in galleries, museums, and institutions internationally with an average of thirty shows per year. Still, behind the scenes, I’ve had a steady stream of side hustles to cover my bills for when invoices went unpaid despite repeated attempts to collect, a process which has sometimes lasted months or even years. This cycle has a domino effect on the work we make, the work we create and our stability in multiple facets of life. Chasing down unpaid invoices for art sales, shipping, and contract work has become a large percentage of my workload and takes away from the time I can commit to my practice. From talking with peers, I know that my situation is far from unique and represents a larger systemic issue.

Throughout this process, I’m thinking about: what would a contemporary patronage model look like and how might it function? Who should be responsible for realizing it? What kinds of enormous strides could we make if all of the hours we spend working two, three, or four side gigs went into developing new work and bodies of research instead? 


About me 

I’m an anti-disciplinary, experimental artist working in the fields of emerging media, open source, pop culture, and hacktivism. In 2016, I co-founded Deep Lab, a collective of researchers who are engaged in ongoing critical assessments of contemporary culture. My work has been shown in galleries and museums all over the world, and I’ve had research fellowships at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, Culture Lab UK, Institute HyperWerk for Postindustrial Design Basel (CH), and The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University among others.

Asymmetric Love, 2013, Addie Wagenknecht
Asymmetric Love, 2013, Addie Wagenknecht
Internet of Things, 2016, Addie Wagenknecht
Internet of Things, 2016, Addie Wagenknecht

What will your contribution support?

Every contribution will help bring visibility to the labor conditions of independent contractors by turning this problem into an artwork that exists in the public, where we can more openly discuss this issue and hold parties accountable for paying artists on time. 

Here’s a breakdown of where this all goes:

  • 30% will go toward designing and building backer rewards
  • 20% will cover the tax that I have to pay on the materials and funds from the campaign 
  • 15% will go toward reward fulfillment including shipping, packaging and handling
  • 8% will go toward Kickstarter and Stripe’s processing fees
  • 27% remaining will go toward my rent, cost of living and capital to fund the creation of new work, including materials and prototyping cost. 

Risks and challenges

These privileges give me a platform to discuss this issue that most certainly affects those less privileged or established than I am, so this project is in part an aim to ring this bell for others who simply don’t have time to ring it for themselves.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    fuck this, pay for my internet bill

    You’ll have access to a private video stream of my studio on Instagram and Facebook to see the creation of new work in progress.

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    23 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    fuck this, pay for my groceries

    You'll receive one of six "limited edition" updates which you can frame as a visual piece of art describing my adventures of trying to get responses to unpaid invoices.

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    9 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    PUSH GOAL: fuck jerks, I'll troll them

    Give me a persons twitter or email address and I will lightly troll them on your behalf (anonymously) for whatever it is you'd like me to bring up or throw at them.

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    2 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    fuck this, pay for my utilities

    You can choose a limited edition video piece of the specific utilities your support provided. The options include cell service, pizzas, coffee, water, heat, paint, and other basic living expenses. The video will be delivered via download.

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    2 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    fuck this, pay my accountant

    You’ll have access to view my personal and professional budgets to see how I make money as an artist, including how I manage cash flow and the unsexy budgeting of life. In addition, an invitation to join a zoom video call where you can AMA (Ask Me Anything) for 60 minutes.

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    6 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    PUSH GOALZ: fuck concepts, be my muse

    After an email, whatsapp text or phone conversation together (your choice) about a topic, person, place, experience (or even yourself) I'll make a work of art based off of it.

    You will choose the title, which will be seen every time it's exhibited internationally, and I'll send you a high resolution image when its done via email to print.

    If you want, your name will even show up in the image credits!

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    1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    fuck you, pay me

    Receive a limited edition “Fuck You, Pay Me” print, 5x8 inches on archival paper.

    Includes:
    • archival print
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    Limited 4 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    fuck this, art roulette

    This is an art roulette in which you’ll receive an artifact from one of my prior pieces which might include concept sketches, a 3D test print, or a small piece from a larger series. The work selected will be up to my discretion. It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure but you get to hang it on your wall. The work will be signed which means it’s real, y’all!

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    Limited 11 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    fuck everything

    You want it all? You got it. Nab this tier and you get everything below. As a bonus, your art roulette will come with a certificate of authenticity and the work will be signed and dated. Re-sell my work on the secondary market and make more than you paid!

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    Limited 3 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    fuck art fairs

    Sky write “Fuck You, Pay Me” in the air over Miami during Art Basel Miami for every gallery, collector, curator and artist to see. You’ll receive an image and video documentation of the work after it’s completed, signed and dated by the artist.

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    0 backers
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Funding period

- (29 days)