BE’s Visual Arts Programme is a two-year cycle exploring a particular theme. In 2013-2014 we aim to gain insights in to concepts such as money, value, transaction and alternative currency. We propose a laboratory where artists from different disciplines and cultures can explore the conjunction of arts, politics and economics, in an attempt to find innovative and experimental strategies that challenge obsolete systems and dominant conventions. More than ever, art practice has to be critically analytical and creatively emancipating, in order to question the world we have been sold and why we have bought it. It is at times like this that art must come into its own to inspire new alternatives.
Following the success of this initiative in 2011/12, last November we opened a call across Europe for a visual artist to attend BE 2013 on a research residency, exploring the same themes as the UK-based programme. The Dutch artist Dadara has been selected to develop a new visual arts project drawing inspiration during and after BE 2013. This will be presented at BE 2014 both at mac Birmingham and AE Harris. Dadara will interact dynamically with the BE Mix project.
At the end of 2010, Dadara started his own bank – the Exchanghibition Bank – at a time when governments have no money for the arts, but lots of money for banks. The Exchanghibition Bank is a travelling bank booth, which has popped up in cultural spaces, but also in public spaces, where visitors exchange their money for banknotes of Zero, Million, and Infinity. Dadara proposes to set up a temporary branch/office of the Exchanghibition Bank at BE FESTIVAL.
Statement from the artist:
“The “careershift” from being an artist, into becoming a bank director has made me become “obsessed” by money. Not only have I been performing with the bank, and building the Transformoney Tree, but I have also organised an Art as Money festival, and curated the Art as Money blog.
All the performers/artists, or even interested visitors can become members of our Board of Directors for the duration of the festival, and will get a title that fits their ideas about money, exchange, art and value, such as CGO (Chief Greed Officer), CPO (Chief Performance Anarchist), etc. Everything in this action and in these titles and functions will be born out of collaborative inspiration and exchange.
The Exchanghibition office will be open during office hours (which obviously do not need to be 9 to 5). During those hours we will hold various board meetings, which are open to the public. In those meetings we can discuss ways to change our monetary system, ideas for new works of art, etc.
All ideas and inspiration will be drawn, painted and written on either the wall or a big canvas, which means that the whole process and evolution of thoughts and ideas will turn into an ever evolving visual piece.”
The Chinese artist Ting Tong Chang’s exhibits a kinetic interactive machine-installation, which is both a donation box and an aquarium, and requires the audience’s participation. It will be located near the box office. With this work Chang illustrates the contemporary system of economy that depends on retail for its citizens’ basic needs and services such as electricity, gas and communication. Life within the aquarium is neither misery nor paradise, but a temporal moment which can be disconnected in any second. Signposted with “Paypoint”, the viewers are invited to top-up the donation box.
-mo·nop·o·ly /məˈnäpəlē/: The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service
Based on the popular board game – for many of us our first experience with money – the British artist Kate Wragg creates an installation & performance that interacts with the audience. It consists of a 4m2 monopoly style board where the audiences are the pieces, moving around a board that has been created tailored to Birmingham and BE. The portable board will appear in multiple spaces throughout the week (Europe, Courtyard, Asia, Australia). Do you want to play?
Ida Ballerini (Italy) presents a video installation inspired by a passage from The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, in which the authors explain how the capitalistic system has lost its way. In this work, Ida reflects on how “money” has become the predominant image associated with value, supported by the conception that everything is equitable to a sum of money. The melting of a pound coin is then a highly symbolical and rebellious act, evoking the ephemeral nature of the financial structure and posing questions about the true nature of value.
Carlos Noronha Feio
Video documented by
The Modern Language Experiment
Would you become more politically aware if you knew that your opinion could actually be immediately heard? A lecture/performance and installation – a dispositif – by artist Carlos Noronha Feio, proposing a system of strategies that empower the individual in relation to the modern state. The act of buying and selling public debt in the primary market, as in the case of bonds that can be purchased for e.g. at the National Savings and Investment (NSANDI.COM), allows for individuals to complement their voting rights and will have a real impact on policy. A government decides to sell off the NHS… Do you agree? So buy! Disagree? So sell! It is a language that is widely understood.
A few months ago The Guardian broke a story about the recently appointed Tory chairman Grant Shapps MP, detailing how – prior to being an MP – he had run an internet company called ‘HowToCorp’ while operating under the name ‘Michael Green’, an ‘internet marketing guru’. We are honoured to announce that Michael Green will be sharing his ideas at this year’s BE FESTIVAL. This performance by Michael Green is complemented by an installation that will have the aesthetic of a commercial display for a company. “It changed my life” – Artist Simon Farid