Upcoming and past events

Back to All Events

Subjective Excess: Labour and Affects as Fields of Struggle

The seminar ‘Subjective Excess: Labour and Affects as Fields of Struggle’ critically approaches labour in capitalism, its relation to intertwined modes of power and oppression as well as the mobilization of affects as a source of resistance and action. The different viewpoints come together in the question of how the production of subjectivity can become a field of political struggle. The analysis of political subjectivity requires efforts of both examining the conditions which produce contemporary forms of subjectivity and investigating the forms of struggle that arise and can be built in a given social conjuncture.

The day will consist on two thematic discussions. Each discussion starts with short introductions to the theme (approximately 5–10 minutes each) after which all participants are welcome to participate in the discussion. We will wrap up with a concluding discussion. The discussions are followed by drinks, some food and music.

14.30 -16.15
Session I: Subjective Excess and Contemporary Exploitation

Daria Krivonos
Olivia Maury
Eetu Viren
Joel Kilpi


Session II: Anxiety and Affects

Iida-Sofia Hirvonen
Aurora Lemma
Minna Seikkula
Ioana Țîștea
Mattias Lehtinen

18.30-19.00 Closing discussion

19.00-22.00 Food, Drinks and Experimental Jazz

The seminar is organized by an independent group in cooperation with Kontur, Kumu and Kosminen.


Session I: Subjective Excess and Contemporary Exploitation

Capitalism is a mode of production based on the exploitation of an excess in the subjectivity of labour. This means that the capitalist mode of production is based on the subjective disproportion between the productive power of labour and labour power as a commodity, however inseparable from the gendered and racialised body. By identifying this gap, capital’s radical instability is laid bare: the valorization of capital takes place on the same terrain on which the contradictions and antagonisms that characterize the capitalist mode of production are formed.

The session addresses the question of how the subjective disproportion within the contemporary forms of work can be understood? What are the subjective aspects that become exploited in areas such as reproductive work, knowledge work or in platform work?

Session II: Anxiety and Affects

It goes without saying that most of us are very anxious. Anxiety throws a shadow over all areas of emotions, enjoyment and self-expression and is often explained through individual psychologisation. The roots of these anxieties are however structural and socially produced. Anxiety is also deeply intertwined with precarity as a form of insecurity, which treats people as disposable in order to impose control. Precarity leads to generalised hopelessness and the feeling of losing the grip over one’s future.

However, affects such as hopelessness and anxiety need not only be a suppressor of the potential to develop productive and emancipative affects. Mobilizing these affects – stemming from feelings of subordination, precarization to name a few – could potentially lead us to action, towards a change of the capitalist system and a new world-bearing aesthetics. Thus, we need to examine the intersections between multiple experiences of the precarity-producing system and the anxiety it results in, in order to develop possible paths to transformation.

The session discusses why we all are so anxious and how could we take hold of the affects produced in relation to precarity and subordination as basis of struggle?