Call for paper

International publication / Special issue

November 2016

Value and surplus value in aesthetic experience,
artistic practice and academic research

Value, quality and excellence are terms one often runs across when talk turns to the arts, research and universities. Whether the matter at hand is to set criteria of evaluation or to discuss aesthetic experience, the notion of value – measurable or surplus – cyclically resurfaces in the cultural debate. In the growing functionalization and measurability of university research, parallel to the gradual academization of the so-called art world, can the notion of surplus value be the key with which to investigate the production of scientific knowledge and artistic practice? Where every discourse on the value of an intellectual works seems to be transformed today into a discussion on the discourse that is produced around that work, is it possible to make communicative, moral, ethical and social values (and so on) the terrain of study of the added value of the artwork – or the value added to the artwork? Can the category of surplus value be useful to problematize the process of appraisal and to assert alternative values to the classic one of economics, of the equivalence rather than the exploitation of scientific research for commercial ends? Starting with these questions, Studio Roma calls to investigate new paths and to observe the production of knowledge in the time of crisis of contemporary liberal democracies.

This international call for papers invites proposals for contributions addressing the question of value and surplus value in aesthetic experience, artistic practice and academic research. Topical contributions that offer case-specific observations, reflections, and interventions are particularly welcome. Proposals should take the form of extended abstracts (max. 1000 words, excluding bibliography, English language).

Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:

• How value and surplus value are generated and negotiated, discussed and contested in current practices of art, research, and/or artistic research;

• Surplus value’s heuristic role to investigate the production of scientific knowledge and artistic practice;

• From exploitation to equivalence: scientific research out of (or before) commercial ends;

• How communicative, moral, ethical and social values (and so on) may be studied as the added value of works of research and artwork – or the value added to both;

• Discussing the process of appraisal within an alternative frame with respect to classic economics;

• The notion of surplus value and the metropolitan space as a site of production and economic valorization;

• City planning, issues of social housing and practices of reappropriation of urban space;

• Labour conflict and social struggle in the city, related to informal economy, production and trade;

• Logistics and the circulation of commodities as a field in which to explore the production of surplus value and contemporary capitalism;

• Conditions and circumstances, forms and categories of values and surplus value: production, extraction, exploitation, appropriation, expropriation, speculation, etc.

This list of questions is open-ended. Contributions of related interest will of course also be considered. Studio Roma encourages contributions in a variety of formats including articles, notes, interviews, photo essays, among others. Accepted materials that do not match with standard publication formats will be published online on the Studio Roma website. Work-in-progress on value and surplus value in art, research, and/or artistic research that may change received understandings of (e)valuation, worth, and values will be of particular interest.

Deadline for submission of proposals: 31 March 2016

Please send an abstract in English of no more than 1000 words and a short biography to: studio.roma[at] For additional information, please contact us at this same email address.

Authors of the selected contributions will be notified by 15 April 2016. The submission deadline for the full contributions is 30 June 2016. Scheduled publication date: November 2016.

Download the call for paper.