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August 2011

Art & Economies: Informality – art, economics, precarity

Exhibition at SMBA (Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam)  14 August – 2 October 2011

The exhibition ‘Informality’ arises from the increasing attention to banking economy and the interest in alternatives to that, an interest also expressed within the arts. The most recent example of this is TimeBank, by Anton Vidokle and Juliete Aranda. The work involves a network of bank branches in art institutions – including Stroom, in The Hague – for which the central ‘currency’ is not money, but time, in the form of ‘Hour notes’ that circulate among the bank’s clients. The artwork, functions as a commentary on a form of capitalism directed (and misdirected) at the banks, here it becomes a form of alternative economy in and of itself. 

Specifically, the exhibition ‘Informality’ focuses on the concept of the informal economy. The informal economy is part of the commercial and service sectors that operate outside the circuit of formal financial transactions –and therefore outside normal banking channels – and is thus hidden from the oversight of the Revenue Service and other governmental institutions that control business and economic affairs. In the West, the informal economy makes up a relatively small part of the total economy: in The Netherlands it is estimated to be about 11%. That is not insignificant; one can think, for instance, of illegal or semi-legal work such as prostitution and domestic help, criminality and fraud, traffic in drugs and people, but also flea markets, EBay, volunteer work and bartering. On other continents, such as Africa and Latin America, but also in former East Bloc countries, the informal economy often makes up the largest part of the total economy.

Artists include:  Marc Roig Blesa, Rogier Delfos, Domestic Workers Union, Matthijs de Bruijne Detour (Marnix de Klerk / NinaMathijsen), Doug Fishbone, Kaleb de Groot, Jose Antonio Vega Macotela and Senam Okudzeto.

Information from the SMBA website and newsletter.

Artist of the Week: Sonia Boyce

Network – a new film by Sonia Boyce

From 13 September – 19 November 2011 artist Sonia Boyce will show a specially commissioned film, Newtwork, at Peckham Space. The film explores how forms of social communication such as mobile phones and social networking sites like Facebook have become the most popular ways for young people to maintain their relationships with friends and family.

The artist worked with Southwark Council’s Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) Young Women’s Group to chart the nature of these relationships and the languages that have formed around these technologies. The exhibition will comprise a series of films, choreographed in the gallery space as an installation: a set of dialogues featuring the young people in front of as well as behind the camera.

Sonia Boyce says: “I was particularly interested in the type of conversations that are generated and amongst groups of young people.  I wanted to explore their inter-connected micro-communities, and that boundary between the public and the private that is bridged online and through personal mobile phones.  It’s fascinating to me that young people’s communities can reach geographically and culturally distant areas through the use of new technology, and how this can challenge traditional notions of the concept of ‘community.”

Information from the Peckam Space website.


Sonia Boyce is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. Her early work addresses issues of race, ethnicity and contemporary urban experience expressed in large pastel drawings and photographic collages, questioning racial stereotypes in the media and in day-to-day life. Recent work combines photographs, collages, films, prints, drawings, installation and sound working collaboratively with audiences.

Boyce was Iniva’s artist in residence in 1998 has created a work for the Rivington Place portfolio which is currently available to view on the 1st floor of Rivington Place. 

Boyce has also contributed to several Iniva publications including Annotating Art’s Histories publication Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers edited by Kobena Mercer, Peep, and Annotations 2 (performance).

Last year she talked in the series of talks organised in partnership with Film & Video Umbrella, Making the Cut. Here is a clip from the talk:

Art & Economies: Everything Must Go

EVERYTHING MUST GO with artist group Foreign Investment



Everything Must Go is a playful project by the artist group Foreign Investment. This commissioned project for Chinese Arts Centre, takes a highly engaged approach to connect the Centre and the public. Everything Must Go offers a unique experience for visitors to actively involve themselves as suppliers, producers and investors throughout the different stages of the exhibition.

In the first instance, members of the public are invited to participate by donating unwanted consumer objects for an ‘upgrade.’ Then a group of volunteers recruited locally will work with the artists to gold-gild the objects. The final upgraded product will be available for public to purchase in the art sale at the end of the exhibition.

Information from the Chinese Arts Centre website. To visit project information: Everything Must Go or information on Foreign Investment.

Art & Economies: Post-Fordism and its Discontents

Publication: Post-Fordism and its Discontents

How do you rethink the recent transformations of global capitalism in the light of its manifold internal fractures and contradictions? The book Post-Fordism and its Discontents addresses complex connections between culture and economy in order to scrutinise what underpins the logic of late capitalism. Post-Fordist theories have offered a very provocative and illuminating slant on the developments within the new regime of capitalist accumulation. In many ways, this theoretical research challenges mainstream economic and cultural theories.

Contributions by Sergio Bologna, Katja Diefenbach, Gal Kirn, Zdravko Kobe, Gorazd Kovačič, Sandro Mezzadra, Rastko Močnik, Ciril Oberstar, Igor Pribac, Jacques Rancière and Marina Vishmidt.

Editor:  Gal Kirn
From the Jan Van Eyck Academy

Find out more about Iniva project Art at the Intersection: Art and Economies

Artist of the week: Idris Khan

Idris Khan new exhibition, Contrary Motion,  at Göteborgs Konsthall, Sweden

This exhibition of Idris Khan’s work will take place from 13 May–21 August 2011. Photography is always present in his work but often in conjunction with other techniques such as film and sculpture; and he continues to explore new techniques and forms of expression. At Göteborgs Konstall amongst other works he shows Listening to Glenn Gould’s Version of the Goldberg Variations while Thinking about Carl Andre, 2010, a 10m long work made of 30 steel panels aligned in two rows, with Bach’s Goldberg Variations blasted into the rough surface.

His work is often about literature, music or selected works from art history, including Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Cello Suites, Philip Glass’ Contrary Motion, the Quran, Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny, William Turner or Caravaggio. Themes explored pertain to art, time, memory and life – that which may be described as the ego’s existential system of reference in space. Khan’s images, sculptures and videos, repetitive actions take place in which the memory of the preceding event lingers on and actively affects the following one.

In 2006 Iniva jointly commissioned Idris Khan’s film debut with Victoria Miro GalleryIdris Khan: A Memory… After Bach’s Cello Suites. It is a layered film in which cellist Gabriella Swallow plays excerpts from Bach’s Six Suites for the Cello Solo. Khan’s fascination with Bach’s Cello Suites is rooted in the fact that a number of different versions have been published and each performer brings their own knowledge and interpretation, so these fragments of music are repeated but never the same. Find out more.

Born in 1978 in Birmingham, England, Idris Khan lives and works in London. He was educated at the Royal College of Art, London. Since 2004 he has exhibited widely internationally.

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Art & Economies: Architectures of Finance from the Great Depression to the Sub-Prime Meltdown

Damon Rich: Red Lines, Death Vows, Foreclosures, Risk Structures

The American preference for traditional residential design masks a frightening reality: across the globe, individual buildings have been retrofitted to serve as interchangeable nodes in a vast abstract structure, held loosely together by legal and political restraints, made to allow the furious circulation of finance capital.
An installation of models, photographs, videos, and drawings by artist-designer Damon Rich, Red Lines immerses visitors in a landscape of pulsing capital and liquidated buildings, exploring the relation between finance and architecture.

During a year-long residence at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Rich, founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), surveyed the darkening realm of real estate markets: foreclosures, pro-formas, chains of title, block busting, exploding ARMs, and the obscure history of the mortgage.

Damon Rich is an artist and designer. Information from the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies

Art & Economies: Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?

Artist Oliver Ressler – Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?


Whilst on a residency in Yerevan as part of the project Eat and Work, Oliver Ressler explored political and economic situations in the Republic of Armenia. The project is a 19 minute film and a two channel video installation. The film was recorded in a market called “Bangladesh” where over 1000 traders try to survive in an economically depressed area, where the traders speak of their pre and post socialist lives. Where in the past the state ensured their basic needs were met, a the new state where all safety nets are gone.

More information on the project and to view the film:  Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What comes Next?