New Article: Affective Iconoclasm-Codes of Labour as a Human Characteristic

Melissa Gronlund

Published Online: 2017-12-29 | DOI:


This text argues that a number of recent works of contemporary art have developed an anthropomorphised code to signal “humanness.” Primary within this code is representations of labour, which the artworks connect to mimetic or realist stylisation as well as to the history of image production and often specifically Western art-making. It elaborates this thesis with regards to recent videos by Pierre Huyghe and Sidsel Meineche Hansen, and at a critique of social media labour in a lecture-performance by Jesse Darling, which all draw a link between human and non-human subjectivities and economic productivity. In focusing on different examples of nonhuman likenesses, the text also uses primatology to suggest that the colonial relationship between labour and species and racial hierarchies continues to colour representations of labour today.

Featured Image Credits:sebastiaan stam


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