X is a free-lance worker. He has a number of different jobs. The most important, at present, is his work for X. He works for them three days a week. It is a QUANGO, a quasi autonomous non governmental organization. And people who work for it are appointed rather than elected. He also works one day a week for X, the film producer. He advises X on how to advise the government about how to distribute money from the new X, with particular focus on film. One day a week is spent on his own projects. At present these include a new television project called X. Run by X. His main proposal has been an ambient selection where not very much happens but in a relaxing way. Still images, maybe a color or two. It is quite clear that there are not many people like X around in London at the moment. He has an ability to move in government circles and at the same time retain his ability to advise people and think about specific problems for various organizations. At the end of the Eighties he worked for X. He got this job after a period in advertising, first with X and then with X and X. In this job he would always meet the most important people in any specific field, never the ground-level operators, if he wanted to know about art, he would speak to the Director of the X Gallery, if he wanted to know about architecture he would speak to X, etc. etc. He considers himself to be something of a subversive, independent thinker, especially within the context of traditionally liberal organizations. His job for X is to consider their overall policy, in fact he is their policy adviser. Their role is to shape our cities. Looking at the way they have developed and constantly reassessing the historical basis with which buildings have been valued in the past. X is supposed to advise the government in terms of which buildings to protect and how to have an overall picture of the architectural heritage of the country. X considered that they also have an obligation for the present and the future, that it is not just a question of preserving the past, but trying to think of ways to permit new buildings to be built. Also his main line of argument with them, in his advisory role, is to constantly bring up the issue of context. Not just listing or protecting but considering the way buildings work together, for example if there is a Medieval Cathedral next to a Sixties multistorey car park then you might consider listing them together. There is a general perception that the process of protecting buildings has gone too far, this is not true in his mind, but if people think it is true then it affects the way that the organization can work. For example he has been involved in thinking about the listing of postwar factories, because they may incorporate special construction techniques. Even if these elements are not visible. This causes some problems because people involved in industry are used to a degree of flexibility, and may not enjoy having their chemical plant listed, just because it used a special type of new piping. He has also looked at the idea of merely recording buildings using new technology which would then leave people free to knock down as many old places as they felt like, without feeling that they are losing something forever. He is a speech-writer and many of his new ideas become visible this way. These speeches are written for other people, and are not read out by him. He likes to work on a one-to-one basis. This helps in terms of getting ideas across. Conversion of people is often difficult, but it is important for him to try and help and persuade through this very specific one-to-one relationship. He spoke about the X. This has been rather embarrassing because the lottery has been such a success. A change in the law allowed it to happen, this change took place because X rules would otherwise have permitted other X tickets to have been sold in X. So the only reason there is a X now is to prevent people from playing the X or X. The problem is that there are not enough good projects to give money to. X believes that there has been a general change in attitudes towards work. The idea of a career for life has gone out of the window. He used the example of X oil, in London, they have a large tower and this was a literal manifestation of your career aims. As a graduate you would start on the ground floor and try and work your way up to the 25th floor. If you were lucky you might lake it to the 20th. This change of attitudes has come as a shock to the generation before ours. And it is rooted in the increasing use of new technology. Labour saving devices have changed the needs of business and also have changed the way we can work as individuals. X, for example, have been left with a great amount of property and no idea of what to do with it. These changes were also aided by the X Government's changes to the tax laws in X. They made it easier to register as self-employed. This was intended to help small businesses and industry but has in fact been exploited by creative people and policy advisors. until recently the head of the X was even registered as self-employed, until he was found out. He was not doing anything illegal, but this change towards self-employment and apparent loss of loyalty to a company, led to pressure which forced him to clarify his position. X had previously worked for X, the shadow X minister for the X Party. This was a good experience of the old school style of cultural policy. In X opinion the old style is central funding from the X sector, with a strong X element. The idea that the state can enable cultural events to take place. It seems as if most of the advice that X gives to organisations and X is that things have changed, people are flexible and it is no longer necessary to think of culture in an educational light. Some elements of the old thinking really worked well, for example, theatre in X was helped tremendously by this old system. In his view culture and leisure are no longer separate, they have become part of the same thing, mainly due to changes in the way people work. The X will kill off the necessity for state funding and between high and low cultural divisions. He feels that it is the hidden agenda of the X Party in X to use the X to end all X funding of arts, culture and heritage. One of his other jobs is to help cities to think of things they can do to celebrate the X. In the recent past he has worked for X. It is just one of many cities in X that thinks it ought to do something for the millenium, but is not sure exactly what. In this case, as in others, he works for the individual, not the organisation. It was not entirely clear to what extent X had detailed knowledge of any of the fields which he advises about. It is clear that his ability to take on over-view and to provide lateral thinking is highly prized. His going pay rate is high and his maintains a number of flexible positions based on the general fact that he is seen as having access to X's. Most of the ideas that he expressed are familiar to us from sociological metaphors that were employed to try and understand the changes in society from the early Eighties onwards. X seems to have completely absorbed these ideas and believes them to be true. He did not enter into any debate about whether or not the advice that he gives people about society will change the society towards what he says it will become. One of the key factors that underscores his work is the belief that it is important to communicate ideas in smallish steps in order to retain the engagement and understanding of his clients.
from Liam Gillick and Philippe Parreno, Le labyrinthe moral, 1995