Questions further to the Market

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Working Group Coordinators: Marsha Bradfield and Kuba Szreder
Working Group: Metod Blejec, Sharon Bennett, Cinzia Cremona, Karem Ibrahim, Neil

Further to our proposal, we have been asked several questions. Please read and respond. These will be drafted into an email submission--deadline for contribution: 9:00am April 15th.

What is the role of Critical Practice, realising the "Market of Values" in the context of 7th Berlin Biennale? Will you be visible in the "Market of Values", position yourselves, speak, act, perform etc?

Critical Practice (CP) has a longstanding record of assembling and facilitating collaborative platforms for collective exchange. The authorship of these platforms is distributed not only among CP members but also, to a certain extent, across participants and publics. These horizontal structures could be framed as artworks, but they do not follow the classical definition of a discrete 'work of art', or of an event produced under the banner of relational aesthetics (in which individual authorship for collective situations is claimed). Rather, these platforms host a variety of collective activities in line with CP's operating principles, as expressed in our aims and objectives. CP usually takes the responsibility for planning and executing these activities, following specific themes in their careful processes of experimentation.

The Market of Values is our response to pressing political questions related to the economics of immaterial labour and mass creativity. These problematics will influence all our decisions - how to build the Market and envision its economy, whom to invite, and how to publicize the event.

Our 'making' of the Market of Values would include researching the themes, ideas, potential contributors, collaborators and stallholders. We envisage the design, location, collaboration and construction of the market stalls to be (as with PARADE) a vital part of the project and a provocative contribution to the Bienniale. We imagine the Market of Values as a specific economic system, complete with its own logic, ethics, regulations and loopholes. To map these different forces, we will encourage stallholders to test multiple ways of 'working the system' and will invite them to conduct cooperative economic experiments.

In addition to facilitating the Market's structure, members of Critical Practice will also 'host' some individual stalls. Their specific concerns will be determined as the project develops.

Regarding the suggested individuals and groups, many of them we are familiar with; but could you get more concrete what will they do and why do you decided for them?

The individuals and groups on the indicative list included in our proposal would hold stalls in the Market of Values to produce various values and patterns of exchange. Some of the stalls will be practical (blood donation, or commercial stalls); others experimental (alternative currencies, like a time bank); and still others will be more propositional (theorists in discussion and debate, or involved in forms of collective knowledge production). There will also be stalls for education and exhibition (screenings of films and documentaries on value and economic systems). Moreover, we hope to work with the Bienniale's curatorial team to research the possibility of stalls that engage some of the hidden economies of the Biennale itself.

Although it is very difficult to specify so far ahead the stall holders' specific contributions, all of them will be expected to hold a stall, the particulars of which will be agreed in advance and accord with the Market's overarching ethos as a mixed economy for producing and comparing values. Through creating these diverse values, the stalls will also address the Bienniale's overarching interest in the question, 'What are the effects of art?'. By putting this question to the stallholders and their stalls, the Market aims to aggregate a range of responses that engage directly with art's potential to stage and track effects in/of economy.

The indicative list brings together practitioners whose creative and intellectual commitments align with both those of CP and the Market of Values. It is not surprising that you know their work and we would appreciate your thoughts on including them in the Market. We are committed to establishing and maintaining contact with practitioners whose approaches practically and/or formally relate to our central theme of alternative economies and emergent networks; moreover, we think this loosely-tied community could be an important legacy of the Market of Values and the Bienniale. Research and networking with other potential stallholders will be a vital part of the project.

For the Market to be truly performative, it will be very important to involve representatives of different Berlin scenes and constituencies, and to experiment with multiple plausible economies and local ecologies. The Market of Values will be CP's method and framework to conduct public research into alternative economies of evaluation, and localize them in Berlin.

Which kind of exchange value do you expect from the Berlin Biennale?

Practically speaking we would request financial and technical support, as well as access to local infrastructure and information, advertising and communication networks. We will test alternative ways of distributing financial, cultural, social resources (devoted / donated to our action not only by the Biennial, but also by CP, other participants and publics) in the micro-scale of the Market. Within the limited spatial and temporal scale of the Market as a laboratory-like situation, we hope to invent social prototypes and trigger learning processes that could have long-term effects in the wider, socio-political horizon.

To address your question in a more detailed manner it would be necessary to position the Market of Values in the context of the Berlin Bienniale itself and of the wider art economy. Every large art event provokes, exploits, initiates and reinforces different types of economies. Although biennales are not all the same, they are in fact markets in themselves - sites of multiple exchanges, where different types of capital (cultural, economic, social) are circulated. We will try to experiment with how these markets operate. We will engage with a variety of controversies over public-private partnerships, relations between the public domains of culture and competitive art markets, and ambivalent stance of large art events towards local networks. We envision the Market of Values as a testing bed for a variety of economies, which would transgress regular modes of exchange between public institutions, individual artists, gallery owners, collectors, publics, networks, constituencies etc. Our approach to organising the Market will be informed by our commitment to the public domain and our interest in networked practices. We will experiment with ways of distributing resources that could nourish networked creativity and general, mass intellect.

Return to The Market of Values - Proposal

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March 3, 2011, Research Base Room 2:30


Mach 29, 2011, Royal Festival Hall 5:30 - 9:00