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Fix-It-Yourself: The Art of Creating Revolutionary Economic Models

Sat, June 16, 2012
2 pm

The Kitchen, 512 W 19th Street

Organized in collaboration with artist Paolo Cirio, 2012 Fellow at Eyebeam.

Inventing alternative forms of exchange for a fair economy is one of the most crucial creative challenges of our time. The current global economic models and monetary policy are intimating the collapse of the system itself, prompting a new understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of economic theory. The artists on the panel present distinct solutions to alter the way society shares wealth, exchanging resources, goods, and skills through visionary means of trade. In so doing, they propose revolutionary projects for social justice, countering the logic of profit and willful exploitation of instability and inequality.

The panel addresses the deep rooted problems with the conventions and tools of international finance such as the Special Purpose Vehicles, High-Frequency Trading, and even the Bretton Woods system, which has influenced the daily reality of the global population. The artists reject such nonsensical rules and strive to fix the system with new strategies of innovation and subversion, beyond the notions of debt, capital, and even money.

The panelists share their visions by discussing new local and digital currencies, barter schemes, fair finance instruments, and timeshare groups they have been involved in creating. An open debate with the audience follows the presentations. In this lively event, the audience gets involved in brainstorming, imagining, and finding solutions for a large-scale implementation of the models proposed by the artists.

Speakers include Paolo Cirio, Mary Jeys, Jessie Reilly, Gregory Sholette, and Caroline Woolard.

Paolo Cirio is an artist working around the idea of manipulation of information's power. His artworks unsettled Facebook, VISA,, Google, and NATO, among others. He won several awards such as Ars Electronica, Transmediale, etc., and his controversial projects are often covered by global media such as CNN, The Age, Der Spiegel, Libération, Apple Daily HK, etc. Paolo is a fellow at Eyebeam Art and Technology Center for the current year, where he is developing a project about offshore business structures among others.

Mary Jeys is a multi-media artist and activist. She founded the Brooklyn Torch Project, a local currency initiative for North Brooklyn in 2009 after receiving a small community grant from FEAST. The Brooklyn Torch Project has been featured in numerous media outlets including CNN, WNYC, NY Daily News, American Banker, and MSN Money.

Jessie Reilly has worked in the intersections of community arts, education, and activism over the past ten years nationally and internationally. Recently, she has been working on forming a network with over six time-banks. As an artist she enjoys exploring all of the different ways the arts can strengthen and celebrate communities, campaigns, and direct actions for social justice. As an activist she enjoys building resources and coalitions that work to strengthen and form viable alternatives to capitalism.

Gregory Sholette is an artist, curator, writer, a founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution and REPOhistory. His publications include Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture, Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945, and The Interventionists: A Users Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life. He is the co-curator of the exhibition It’s the Political Economy, Stupid. He is a member of Gulf Labor Coalition, the Institute for Wishful Thinking, the Art & Labor Working Group of OWS, and adviser for the new Home Workspace Program in Beirut, Lebanon.

From public seating and subway swings to collaborative projects with mycologists, architects, and designers, Caroline Woolard makes public projects that connect people. These projects have been supported by the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, Cooper Union, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, a Watermill Center residency, MIT's Center for Civic Media. Woolard is the co-founder of Trade School, a barter-based learning model that began in New York in 2010 and now running in ten global cities, and, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund.

This program is free of charge and open to the public; seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This event is organized in conjunction with Creative Destruction on view at The Kitchen.

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