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Artist Works for Show Me the Money

Descriptions of three art projects for the Blowup Reader 5, Show Me the Money (2012).

Introduction to the Artist’s Works

BY MICHELLE KASPRZAK

For this section of the eBook I have included here documentation of three artworks by Christin Lahr, Lada Nakonechna, and Christian Nold. Each work tackles different aspects of the relationship between money, society, and creativity. Christin Lahr’s MACHT GESCHENKE project uses the banking system itself as a platform to communicate directly with government while also paying down the German national debt; Lada Nakonechna’s Cards relates the labour of artmaking to wealth and wages of the countries where she creates the works; and Christian Nold’s Bijlmer Euro project identifies the flow of money within a community.

Bijlmer Euro

BY CHRISTIAN NOLD

‘The Bijlmer Euro is a Parasitical Currency that piggybacks on the ubiquity of the Euro as a vehicle for its own mobility.’ - Christian Nold
www.BijlmerEuro.net

The Bijlmer Euro is a conceptual and technical evolution of the idea of a local currency. Local currencies are intended for use in small geographical areas where they are designed to improve the way that local people exchange services and locally-​produced goods. The fundamental economic concept, is one of stopping a ‘leakage’ of money out of local areas towards large distant chain stores. By spending money in locally owned shops the money stays within the local network where it benefits the local community in terms of jobs, social contact, cultural identity and encourages shorter supply chains.

The Bijlmer Euro trial came to a close in 2011. It was a test of a new kind of parasitical local currency that builds on official money and adds local value on top. The project has been an amazing success. We setup a network of 18 locally owned Bijlmer shops, who got actively involved in promoting the project and offering discounts. Due to the electronics tag on on the Bijlmer Euros we know that over 3 months, we have had 647 purchases with Bijlmer Euros which means that we have kept roughly €4852.5 in the local economy which might have left the local area. Yet it is the social and cultural value of the project, which is crucial and yet unmeasurable. The project has generated a huge local & national discussion on the role of money in people’s lives and local areas.

The long term goal is to develop a prototype for a global, community run diaspora banking system based on the strength of social relationships between communities across the whole globe. The concept is to setup local currencies in other areas across the globe, where Bijlmer people have strong connections. These local currencies located for example in Suriname, would use the same currency as the Bijlmer. The concept is that these trans-​local currencies will be supporting both the local networks of the places where they are physically located but also to create a global network of community solidarity.

MACHT GESCHENKE

BY CHRISTIN LAHR

Since May 31, 2009, Christin Lahr has been making daily money transfers of 1 cent to the German Federal Ministry of Finance, thus helping to counter the growing mountain of debt in homeopathic doses. In the field ‘reason for payment’, she always writes 108 characters from ‘CAPITAL: A Critique of Political Economy’ by Karl Marx. That way, bit by bit, the entire book will be transferred into the state’s central account via online banking. The transmission of the roughly 15,709 cents and 1,696,500 characters will take about 43 years.

The increase in value of the capital investment is not even included, nor are the required labor and lifetime or the added value through cultural and symbolic capital calculated into this. Due to the exponential effects of interest and compound interest, her donation will be able to pay off the national debt of 31 May 2009, 1,746,599,197,210 Euro, within 300 years.

MACHT GESCHENKE, which inscribes itself irrevocably into accounts and archives, is a donation to the entire people, entered into the state budget, administered by the currently elected representatives, safely stored at the Bundesbank. Each of the money transfers is documented by Lahr by a screenshot, printed out once, signed, and given away to individual citizens. In “over-​subscriptions’ on translucent paper, she crosses out character by character and thus produce an unreadable notation of “Capital’, consisting of counting marks and numerals.
The work counteracts the ruling political economy and senseless, degrading bureaucratism with the gesture of giving, and poses the question of meaning. The system sees itself in a mirror. Once a day, the micro-​donations upset the state’s balance sheet. They triggers a sustained debate on values that produces continuous reflections and echoes.
During an exhibition Lahr is working work at a capital desk, taking over a mayors´s chair to sit on it, exposing bureaucratic structures, delivering an illustrative insight into the cultivation of capital and performing: MACHT GESCHENKE: THE MAKING OF CAPITAL.
www.macht-​geschenke.de

*The German title MACHT GESCHENKE is a play on words implying ‘CREATE GIFTS’, or ‘GIFTS OF POWER’ as well as ‘POWERFUL GIFTS’

Cards

BY LADA NAKONECHNA
In this long-​term project since 2010, Lada Nakonechna spends a full working day from 8AM – 5 PM making a single drawing. The drawings were created in Switzerland, Germany, and in Ukraine.

The price of drawing is determined by the median wage paid to common workers in the country where the drawing is created. For example, the handwritten caption under the Swiss drawing reads ‘Swiss made \ one working day \ from 8 a.m. till 5.30 p.m. \ 9 hours \ average price per hour - 35 Fr \ total 315Fr’

The drawing produced in Ukraine is captioned: ‘Ukrainian made\one working day \ from 8 a.m. till 5p.m. \ 9 hours \ average price per hour – 13Hr \ total 104 Hr’*

The drawings are for sale with the prices indicated in the captions. Using the current exchange rate, the drawing produced in Ukraine, is worth 104 Ukrainian Hryvnia, which is only 13 Swiss Francs. By contrast, the drawing produced in Switzerland is for sale for 315 Francs.

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