ISEA & A Living Wage For Artists

ISEA wrapped up last week to great fanfare heard around the blog-i-verse. ISEA, for those of you not involved in our tiny little world of media arts, stands for the International Symposium on Electronic Arts, and is (in their own words) “the world’s premier media arts event for the critical discussion and showcase of creative productions applying new technologies in interactive and digital media.”
It is a media arts event like many others in that it invites a group of similar people doing similar projects to a city once or twice a year to listen to each other present projects and ideas. This seems to be standard practice so I don’t fault them for that. What I fault them for is not only do they not pay included artists for traveling half way around the world, they actually make them pay money to get into a venue in which they are presenting. Participating artists are given a $150 Singapore Dollar discount on their ticket bringing their fee for inclusion down to a negative $350 SD (-$217 USD). Pricing is listed on their website here.
Artists are already fucked financially because we decided to make art for a living. Media artists are fucked even more because we don’t paint things that art collectors can hang above their couches. The last thing we need at this point is a media arts festival convincing people that it is standard practice to have artists pay to present their work. I’ve gotten used to hearing sob stories from giant arts events that are too poor to be able to pay working artists much money, but having artists pay to to do work is insulting and a dangerous precedent to set.
So until we get a media arts union up in this motherfucker I will continue to throw up middle fingers on blog posts and boycott events that don’t treat artists respectfully. Want to join me?
“Thank you for presenting your life’s work in a condensed easily digestible 60 min presentation with accompanying visual aids. You owe us $217 USD. Come again!”