Free-Time (Time as Sanctuary)

Artist: Danilo Correale
Location: Global, first performance in Bogota, Colombia
Year: 2018
Researcher: Amanda Abi Khalil

Free-Time is an ongoing work initiated in 2018 in collaboration with US and Italian lawmakers and social activists. The project is conceived with the goal of drafting a new proposal to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee. The proposal calls for inscribing free time as an endangered cultural manifestation in need of urgent safeguarding.

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Free-time consists of a collaborative project and artwork addressing the emergencies the world is experiencing in global work policies and particularly the erosion of time freed from work.
The process of filing the proposal to be sent to the UNESCO committee for the intangible cultural heritage, opened up a platform for discussion aimed at understanding the implication of neoliberal policies on the job market. This led to a consequent recognition of how free time is the fundamental foundation for all forms of cultural production. The inscription of Free Time on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding implies the assumption that no cultural heritage can be produced and reproduced without a time freed from labor or work.
The first reiteration of this project took the form of a performance lecture where two different actors read a keynote presentation during the UNESCO annual conference which took place in Bogotà, Colombia in March 2020. The six-minute presentation was repeated identically by a female voice followed by a male voice. It presented theoretical research and argumentation in defense of free-time. The artwork, performance, and process all contemplate multiple temporary collaboration and legal parties, the final goal is the inscription of Free-Time as global intangible Cultural heritage and from there work with the UNESCO organization for the production of a series of policies that will allow individuals all around the world to feel their time as sanctuary.

The research conducted on theoretical economic predictions of labor, including the so-called arrival of a “golden age of leisure”, forms the foundation for this project. The central argument of the lecture performance delivered to UNESCO at its annual conference in Bogota, Colombia in 2020 revolves around how the people of today (“the moderns”) have relinquished all ambition towards reducing labor hours, achieving sufficient capital resources, and living freely.
The crux of this issue, presented by the artist, is that free-time is the necessary condition under which all cultural production occurs. Everything which distinguishes the human species from the rest of the living world is a product of leisure. A defense of free time is a unique proposition within today’s capitalist productive context. Resistance is taking back free-time which has been stripped en masse from all people devoted to work.

Progress Agency