About

We are a design research studio that develops didactic media, exhibitions, publications, and other forms of intellectual property for artists, nonprofits, and creative businesses.

Book free 15-minute consultation
Book sliding-scale hourly consultation




Staff

Wye Coday
Senior Researcher 
wye@nor.la


Evan Kleekamp
Operations and Development
evan@nor.la


Client Services

Product and Publication Development for digital, print, and subscription products.

Ghostwriting for business plans, grant proposals, fundraising and emial marketing campaigns.

Business Management including lead generation, coaching and consulting, triage and austerity audits, strategic communications, web portfolio development, and competitive research. 


Statement of Purpose

We pride ourselves on the quality and thoroughness of the investigations we develop for artists and creative businesses who seek to grow their enterprise and repair their relationships to money, power, labor, and personal identity.

Unlike many art professionals, we encourage artists to develop fully integrated businesses that hold no illusory distinctions between artistic expression, studio practice, commercial labor, and business administration.

This means conducting audits, interrogating financial objectives, setting measurable goals, and preparing our clients to advocate for themselves — and their businesses — with confidence while also supporting the development, production, distribution, and sale of their artwork.

In our view, this integrated approach represents a movement toward transparency and financial stability in an industry that is widely disingenuous, opaque, and exploitative.

It is also an optimistic gesture that demonstrates our commitment to advocating for artists who seek to make an independent living through their creative practices.


Statement of Method

We describe ourselves as a design research studio because we use research methodologies to define and counter the structural inequity and economic disenfranchisement that plague the arts.

Our artworks extend our research practice. To date, they have taken the form of grant proposals, photographs, sculptures, catalogue essays, legal interventions, lecture performances, and recorded conversations. We also advocate for what we described as “post-institutional” business models that allow artists to diversify their sales portfolios.

Rooted in the core of our approach is our belief that artists must reconcile their relationship to money if they want to have uninterrupted time to produce their work. 


Statement of Equity


Artists with nontraditional backgrounds are encouraged to contact us for specialized consultations. We proudly work with and support neurodivergent, queer, disabled, and otherwise economically marginalized groups.


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About

We are design research studio that develops didactic media, exhibitions, publications, and other forms of intellectual property for artists, creatives, startups, media companies, small businesses, and nonprofits.



Staff

Wye Coday
Senior Researcher
wye@nor.la


Evan Kleekamp
Operations and Development
evan@nor.la


Book free 15-minute consultation
Book sliding-scale hourly consultation



Services 
WORKING GROUP Z

 WORKING GROUP Z is a thesis about institutional infrastructure activated through an experimental labor initiative, dynamic profit-sharing model, and their complementary public programs. 

The initiative seeks a documentable, reproducible model that would sustain dynamic equity infrastructure — compensation paradigms that mix elements of equity and distributive justice — with specific focus on their implementation in nonprofits as an equitable remedy in lieu of partial ownership.

To that end, the initiative explores working conditions among contemporary creative practitioners, seeking to resolve antagonisms between equity-driven and distributive justice-based compensation paradigms.

The initiative was previosly hosted by NAVEL, an independent art space in Downtown Los Angeles. 


THESIS

WORKING GROUP Z argues that antiquated institutional infrastructure can be retrofitted to suit the dynamic needs of independent workers. Focusing on artistic labor and inquiry, the initiative disputes closely held cultural assumptions about institutional governance — the means by which organizations are assembled and conduct themselves — seeking new methods for distributing liabilities, compensation, and decision-making power among interdependent creative practitioners. Crucial to its critique is an open-ended experimental programming series where invited practitioners sell, describe, and justify their labor form, delineating their own symbolic and financial value to a public audience comprising their competitor-peers in the process. The initiative’s sharpest assertion is aimed at its organizational host, NAVEL, and the concept of kinship economies at the center of its mission. Questioning if kinship is a valid path toward community, wealth, and self-determination, the initiative will contrast equity and distributive justice models, ultimately pursuing a functional resolution between the opposing compensation paradigms.


ART, LABOR, AND THE DESIGNED ENVIRONMENT

WORKING GROUP Z identifies a unique history at the intersection of art, labor, and the designed environment in which workers frequently have limited control over the institution they are often charged with building or developing. Considering infrastructure that determines compensation and decision-making power as well as financial liabilities, the initiative seeks to educate creative practitioners about the conjoined but relatively recent history of independent creative practice and worker-owned business models.

EQUITY AND DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE

The initiative examines two contradictory means of distributing compensation and power, equity and distributive justice. Equity suggests that resources are distributed in proportion to inputs and outputs, with those who contribute more resources receiving more resources in return. Conversely, distributive justice flattens the distribution of resources into equal proportions. Comparing the two, the initiative offers programming that locates their antagonism in intellectual property and other products of the mind.

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIPS

Economies are clusters of people who are engaged in exchange. While our dominant economic system is capitalism, alternative paradigms such as kinship and gift economies are deployed in response to the disabling mechanisms associated with capitalistic enterprise. The initiative compares these models with emphasis on the respective definitions of sustainability, fairness, and labor value enacted within them.

LABOR AS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

WORKING GROUP Z argues that intellectual property and other products of the mind form a central fissure in the divide between equity and distributive justice. Since the near-universal adoption of international intellectual property law in the early 1900s, it has been widely held that individuals lose their incentive to produce useful products if the fruits of their labor and expertise are distributed at whim. The initiative examines the historical antagonism between laborers and property owners as well as complications to that relationship created in the wake of intellectual property.








NAVEL’S  PROGRAMMING SPACE IN THEIR DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES WAREHOUSE.