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A-B-C #TransActing: A Market of Values

Some general notes:

• We selected terms that would allow us to discuss relevant ideas and other key terms, hence the list of words in black (only suggestions, not prescriptive) after the glossary voice in red. Naturally, discussions will overlap and refer to each other (see also ...).

• We have some ideas of who could write about certain terms. Some of us have already volunteered (names in bracket). Please, choose terms that you feel enthusiastic about expanding on. Kuba, would you write about Indebtedness and related concepts? And we would love it if Neil C could write about Market.

• We decided that the idea of LABOUR will be distributed throughout the different voices. Please, keep this into account if you decide to write a section of the glossary. Similarly, it seems to us, TRANSACTING will be tackled under several terms, although it also has its separate definition. ALTERNATIVE seems also to be relevant to almost all terms.

• We understand definition in the widest sense of the word!


The publication working group.

PLEASE DO ADD TO THIS TABLE WHEN YOU CAN. Terms may be dished out to consider individually after our online gathering on the 7th Oct. The deadline for completion is Oct 31st. For the publication we will have to cut it down to max 2 sentences for each term.

TransActing Term CP definition
A Autoprogettazione From Enzo Mari’s approach to design and production, autoprogettazione is based on the principle that by making something instead of buying it, it becomes possible to learn in a unique way. Mari created a simple set of open source designs for pieces of furniture that could be built with just wood and nails. For #TransActing: A Market of Values, with the help of Andreas Lang of Public Works, we worked from some of Enzo Mari’s original designs in workshops and discussions. We developed variations for stalls for the market and collectively realised them as Critical Practice with the contribution of stall holders and the Good Gym.

Repurposing as much material as possible from the degree show affected the aesthetics of the stalls and our learning processes, promoting problem solving and revealing how skills can be developed and adapted to circumstances. We negotiated varying levels of experience and skills, personalities, gender, timings, the institution, knowledge, values and ideas – the principles and dynamics of Critical Practice and of #TransActing materialized into processes and stalls.

B Barter A radical rethinking of systems of value and the ways they intersect was at the heart of #Transacting. Organs, tears, sounds, words and promises were traded and exchanged. As there are no direct equivalences between these quantitative and qualitative systems, bartering activates the open potential for materialising implicit values and modes of exchange. The challenges of bartering within such mixed economies elicited generous responses as all involved abandoned disbelief to explore fictional alternatives and provocative offers and requests. Bartering encourages the re-evaluation of goods and believes; it reframes the market as a context for collective knowledge production, reciprocity, social experiments and affective exchanges. (see also Currency, Economy, Hospitality).
C Currency Flowing through society and this non-competitive market are intangible values that facilitate exchanges. Currencies are conventional materializations of these values.

As a reflexive device to allow access to the embedded research of #TransActin, currency artefacts were designed comprising of four themes: Time, Wellbeing, Knowledge and Creativity. This currency enhanced and enabled market interactions and as a medium of exchange challenged the primacy of cash.

C Communities of Evaluation cluster around issues of shared concern in an act that both evaluates ‘what is there’ and in doing so, negotiates and produces its own value. In delineating and making evaluations, however, this practice is necessarily divisive. Evaluation occurs within the group but also nurtures a culture that extends beyond the immediate bounds of particular communities. CP have been practicing community-making in this way as a method to research resilience, to connect and share with others through resources other than the financial.
D Desire not need, not want, not lack. Personal and collective. Perhaps desire to satisfy a need - desire to be desired.

In the Lacanian sense, desire is unconscious. Being what a subject really wants, desire may contradict explicit ethics and political beliefs. The desire to belong, to feel safe, to control one’s life may lead to accumulating possessions to the detriment of social and political structures that in the long run would benefit all. The dialogues, the exchanges of information and the acts of generosity fostered by #Transacting, opened a space to rethink the systems within which desire is steered towards isolation and private possession. The contradictions between desire and ethics inform the gaze interlocutors cast over each each other, how difference and otherness are voiced, played, enjoyed, addressed and experienced.||

E Economy Economies connect needs and desires, via transactions, to limited resources. Interlocked human economies often obscure the various values circulating, with money. See MARKET
F Free Meaning at no cost or in freedom – an impossibility in the context of interpersonal and social relations. #Transacting demonstrated that recovering materials costs energy and time. Transactions that are not based on money give and take within other systems of value more or less binding. Free from the constriction of proprietary approaches to knowledge and technology is a horizon to which is worth aiming. Awareness of the ideologies and systems that govern transactions, even when they appear free, an indispensable tool.
G Governance The practices and policies by which any group abides. It attempts to balance the power of decision-making, work loading, opinion-sharing and opportunity to act. It is constituted by the explicit and implicit rules through which hierarchies and sources of power are negotiated and/or understood. CP runs as a cluster based on the principles of open organisations. Working processes include decision-making by rough consensus, transparency of working process and knowledge production and the creation of working groups to focus on the tasks at hand. It is not always effective, but a continue source of political and institutional awareness. Different sources of power and of resources often distort transparency, but are counterpointed by robust discussions, efforts at awareness and generosity.
H Hospitality The will and actions of welcoming and sharing. It involves acceptance of the other, generosity, care, attention. It is based on creating a welcoming environment in which guests can feel comfortable and free to act. For #Transacting, the stalls could be adapted to the need of our guests, making explicit Critical Practice’s openness to the needs of each ‘trader’. A convivial atmosphere is an essential element of hospitality and sharing food confirms that the wellbeing of all has been considered. Successful hospitality begets hospitality – members of the public were in turned welcomed to transact by artists, academics, researchers, architects, designers, chefs, musicians, nurses, speakers, readers. (see also: Join)
I Indebtedness In this market of free exchange, removed from archaic notions of gifting and the need for debt repayment imposed by power relationships, reciprocity is engendered rather than obligatory. An option is for value to be 'payed forward' rather than directly back to the gifter.
J Join ...........................................................................................................
J Jig A jig is a custom-made tool used to coordinate the location of components and the actions of people. Jigs made the production of the market stalls for #TransActing possible
K Know-how A pragmatic approach to knowledge constructed through doing; through making, discussing and 'learning on the job'. An understanding of how to do things, it implies that the 'science' of the application is understood through a net/patchwork of emergent knowledge, produced intuitively, explicitly or implicitly, by the people undertaking the action. CP employed mixed practices in a way that encouraged development of existent know-how of forming groups, making platforms and working together to construct the market, which in turn led to the furthering of collective skills such communication in groups, drilling, kindness, bread-making, empathy, negotiation... [1]
L Listening making sure that others are heard and taken into account, even if this does not mean necessarily changing a group’s activity to benefit the individual’s desire. However, CP’s method of researching through doing also implies another way of listening; learning each others’ way of sawing, noticing if they’re tired, the space they require to hammer a nail, how they like their coffee or the force needed to hold down wood, counterbalancing pressure from the other’s drill.
M Market A market connects peoples’ needs and desires, through things, sometimes material things, via mediums of exchange, transactions. Markets are a bundle of simple technologies interlocked to form an ecology.

And an ecology is not controlled by a sequence of genetic programs – like a species, an ecology integrates a variety of different genetic programs, animals, plants, resources and energy into a network of related interests. Similarly, an ancient bazaar or a contemporary distributive market enable the interaction of people, ‘goods’, knowledge, values, resources, energy and waste to be networked into a resilient, often self-organized and decentralized system; a market. See ECONOMY||

N Network Always trace the currencies. If you trace the currencies, and give an account of your tracing of the currencies, to some people it will look like a network, to others an economy
O Offer The act or intention of giving itself, either univocal or expecting an offer in return. In a perspective based on greed and accumulation, scarcity produces demand and increases the relative value of a product. Within a logic of generosity, offer has value in itself and produces opportunities for more sophisticated forms of economy.
P Public The term Public although contested, has, with the addition of various pronouns, some defined interpretations. Amongst others we could include:
   Public Good; of, concerning, or nurturing beneficence, is the principle of doing good in the widest sense for a community or assembly.
   Public Space; maintained for or used by a people or community.
   Public Company; capitalized shares that can be traded on an open market.
   Public Realm; participated in or attended by a group or community.
   "Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate" Hannah Arendt.
   Public Office/Service; connected with or acting on behalf of an assembly or community.
   Public Knowledge; open to the knowledge or judgement of all.
   The Public; a community or the people as a whole.
   Public interest, a group of people sharing a common interest.
   Public utilities, the infrastructures necessary to facilitate a public.

On the other hand publicness is a bastardized word, a nonsense. It seems to encapsulate both the activity of sharing resources with others, and a quality of things shared. We preferred to think with this awkward term. ||

Q Quid pro quo Something for something; ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’; exchange; trade; swap; reciprocity; return; amends; indemnity; recompense; satisfaction
R Resources A resource is a thing from which a benefit is produced. Typically resources are things like; materials, energy, water, capital, knowledge, or attention. A resource is an asset that when transformed to produce a benefit may be consumed (used-up) and shared with others.
S Stall A market stall is a typically immobile, yet temporary structure to exhibit 'goods' in a street market or at fairs and conventions. In thinking about how to construct the 'market stalls', the physical infrastructure for #TransActing, we decide to try and embody our interest in resilient evaluative practices. Our intention was to recycle materials from the terminated degree show exhibitions at Chelsea College of Arts - every year, there is a suite of skips used to dump unwanted artworks, trashed exhibition making materials, unloved things - to produce the markets stalls. With this in mind we worked with Public Works who had introduced us to the (see: AUTOPROGETTAZIONE ) furniture series of Enzo Mari from 1974. The series utilised standard timber section to produce a range of furniture, using simple tools - a saw, ruler, square, a ( JIG ) hammer and nails, and requiring only basic DIY skills. The plans, with dimensions and cutting log for the furniture were also freely published by Mari in a premonition of a Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) ethic, and a gesture towards a cultural and material commons.

We decide to use Mari as our guide, to develop the stalls.||

T Transacting Transacting, is first and foremost a communication praxis. Peoples come together to transact, perhaps for quite different reasons; they do not need to exchange equitably, or even communicate in the same language; all that is required is that they have some ‘goods’ to transact, and social conventions to enable the transaction; a distributive market.Transactions are possible without physical 'goods', and without ownership, all that is necessary – like language itself - is that one value be substituted for another, and that interested parties can apprehend the substitution. Values, values of all kinds can be made present, substituted and transacted. A transaction is not even attached to the ‘goods’ transacted, it’s the ability to make present or real, relationships between people. Social relations as deep, subtle and complex as this, can never be subsumed by mere financialization.
U Usership An alternative to ownership. At a time with most of the world is owned by a tiny percentage of people, we use on their terms, sometimes misusing with the view of reconfiguring the terms and conditions of our social contract.
V Value(s) No value is an island. Value circulates through logistical systems; systems of distribution, capture, and accumulation. Value is a vector, a force and a medium, and nothing moves outside of its sphere of influence. To value is to invest. And creativity is to invest in values not yet known; future, fugitive, contingent values, new ecologies of value.
W Waste Waste is time and context specific, its matter from which people can no longer imagine extracting a benefit. Its matter out of place within a particular(see ECONOMY ), momentarily without (see VALUE ), and the polar opposite of a (see RESOURCE)
(X) Love Love. Love again. Keep loving. Don’t stop. Don’t expect love in return, don’t calculate. Don’t economise love. Don’t compete. Love is a currency without an economy, so don’t worry if you love too much, or not enough. Love what you can. Maybe a bit more than you can. Keep loving. Don’t stop.
Y Yield As a verb: giving in, giving way, bending to make space for incoming otherness. As a noun: gain, return, reward. These two aspects come together in transactions involving non-equivalent systems of value.
Z Zero Carbon is an ambition valued by Critical Practice. At #Transacting, CP hosted Divest UAL, a student-staff activist group initiated in 2014 by David Cross, who since 2013 has called for University of the Arts London to divest from fossil fuels and switch banks from Royal Bank of Scotland, a major lender to fossil fuel companies. In October 2015 UAL announced that it would divest its endowments of £3.9 million from fossil fuels. However, UAL still indirectly supports the fossil fuel industry by entrusting hundreds of millions of pounds (most of which comes from student tuition fees) to RBS. Divest UAL is bringing people together to see how higher education in art and design can make the transition to a zero carbon society.

A Autoprogettazione (Cinzia), Aesthetic, Creativity, DIY, Making, Materials, Open Source, Production, Self-
B Barter BYO, Economy, Mutual, Peer-to-peer, Reciprocity, Swap, Transaction
C Currency (Neil F) Accumulation, Art, Commission, Distribution
C Community of Evaluation (Amy) Community, Ethics, Evaluation
D Desire (Cinzia), Difference, Interlocutor, Individual, Joy, Need, Personal, Play, Voice
E Economy (Angela) Betting, Branding, Capital, Enterprise, Exploitation, Exchange, Finance, Investment, Income, Margins, Money, Outsourcing, Profit, Speculation, Taxation (Offshore, Evasion)
F F(r)ee/F®ee Expenses, Fairness, Fee, Free, Funding, Grant, Job, Paid, Precarity, Salary/Stipend, System, Unpaid, Work, Worker
G Governance Bureaucracy, Control, Conflict, Consensus, Elite, Exclusion, Group, Hierarchy, Organisation, Power, State
H Hospitality (Amy), Food, Non-for-profit, Wellbeing
I Indebtedness Borrowing, Credit, Debt, Lending, Poverty, Want
J Join (Marsha), Collective, Collaboration, Participation, Together
Jig</font></b> (Karem)
K Know-how Knowledge, Skill, Information, Data
L Listening (Amy)
M Market Consumption, Consumerism, Emergence, Global, Local, Market Value, Product
N Network Social
O Offer (Cinzia), Care, Contribution, Donation, Giving, Gift, Generosity
P Public Access, Commons, Public Space, Public, Private Property
Q Quid pro quo (Sissu), Mutual, Peer-to-peer, Reciprocity
R Resources Conservation, Disposable, Ecology, Preservation, Recycling, Reuse, Repair, Resilience
S Stall Aesthetics, Attention, Auction, Buying, Client, Customer, Sharing, Sensibility, Specialization, Selling, Shonky
T Transacting Experience, Fraud, Ownership, Transaction, Bank
U Usership (Marsha), Use Value
V Value(s) System, Value, Valuating, Valuing, Value Added
W Waste (Sissu), Art, Sustainability, Wealth
(X) Love (Sissu), Friendship, Accountability, Gifting, Texting, Self-referentiality of language, Non-representational politics of exchange, Affectionate business model
Y Yield (Sissu), Gain, Growth
Z Zero Carbon

Alternative, Advertising, Action, Advocate
Conversation, Critical/critique, Charity, Choice
Education, Event, Equality
Image, Independence
J, Juice, Justice, Jostle
Labour, Law, Loss, Left
Morals, Mapping, Mediation
New, Neo-liberal
(Private) Property, Public, Promise, Propaganda, Project, Politics, Possession, Protest
Quest, Question, Quality, Quantity, Quantitative, Questionable, Qualities
Right, Reflection, Ritual, Research
Solidarity, Support, Status, Service, Serving, Scarcity
Transacting, Touch, Theft, Time, Trade, Toolbox, Trust
You, Yes

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