The Archivist Speaks ... [8]

Two consecutive events at V2_ focus on money and the arts: Test_Lab: Who Wants to Be and the Blowup Show Me the Money. This column searches for connections with V2_ works and events from the past.

It's not so easy to find events and works in the V2_archive that have a clear and direct connection to the Test_Lab Who Wants to Be and the Blowup Show Me the Money. Of course, Saul Albert gave a presentation at DEAF07, as part of UbiScribe: Collocollaboracontentquery? and at Snack&Surge Brunch: Out in the Open. But reflecting on the organization, specifically the financial organization of culture and the arts, has not often been the main focus of events at V2_. To refer only to the recent successful funding of Protei through Kickstarter seems a bit too easy...

One could maybe point to the early days of netart, when there was a lot of discussion on the specific position of netart in the world of the arts, which also came with ideas on money and how to financially sustain such a culture. Also various projects which posited alternatives to cultural production, or were experiments in the organization of cultural production are a possible connection. Marko Peljhan's Makrolab might be an example. More radical and subversive: the various projects which Hans Bernhard (Ubermorgen.com) was involved in implicitly pose very interesting questions regarding the financial aspects of cultural production. The well-known They Rule (2001) by Josh On and Futurefarmers provides a platform to map power relations in the contemporary corporate world.

Games as another point of entry then? There is the famous (commercial) Civilization, a simulation-game. Civilization IV, Age of Empire, is an art game by the Serbian collective Eastwood, which was exhibited at DEAF04. Read this: "Civilization IV - Age of Empire is a game that creates a socio-economical model, mapping the processes, flows, comparativeness and differentiation in the market. This model simulates activities of some of the world's top IT corporations. The game displays the functioning of today's IT complex machine in a most transparent way, including the role of military-entertaining complex, immaterial labor, pharmaceutical industry, net.economy, business espionage, surveillance mechanisms, sex/porn industry, terrorism, governmentality, schizophrenia."

Implicitly the theme fo money and cultural production has probably been touched upon many times at V2_, certainly with regard to alternative cultural production. Should be mention the discussions on the internet and media art in Eastern Europe, for instance the Deep Europe project, and its funding connections with the Soros Foundation?

As V2_ finds its roots in the alternative scene, and started in squatted buildings in Den Bosch, there should also be quite a few examples of political inspired art from the early days. Stephen Wilson's Street Voice Space from 1990 used a computer who asked the public to vent their opinions on social, political or psychological subjects through a microphone in the middle of the square. That's somehow comparable to what will happen in the Test_Lab: Who Wants to Be and the Blowup Show Me the Money...


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