MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives
Session 8 - Designing Alternatives
Conference Day 2 (22 March 2014)
Over the past two years I have been seeking to build an online collection of instances of art that mobilizes money as an artistic medium (moneyandart.tumblr.com) – from the integration of material money (coins, bills, credit cards) into various aesthetic processes (sculpture, painting, performance, etc.), to a preoccupation with more ephemeral thematics, including debt, global economics, and the dynamics of the art market itself. This presentation explores three (and a half) strategies that artists use to engage with money: crass opportunism; a stark revelation of money’s power; and a coy playing with art’s subjugation to money. It close with a more profound attempt to reveal the shared labour at the heart of both money and art’s aesthetic-political power. Money’s perennial appeal to artists, I argue, stems from the irony of its tantalizing capacity to ‘almost’ represent capitalist totality. At their core, both money and art are animated by a certain creative labour, the suspension of disbelief, and a politics of representation. As such, art becomes an important vantage point for studying, understanding, and seeing beyond the rule of money over social life. In spite of everything, there is something utopian about the power of the imagination that is, today, bound up in our use of money.