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Seminar in Visual Culture: Money Money Money

  • Location:

Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, Room ST 275
(School of Advanced Study, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DN London)

Wednesday 25 Mar, 6.30 - 8.00pm
Marina Vishmidt, “Speculation as Mode of Production: Art, Money and the Formalism of Value”
Carolyn Kay, “Economics and Gaming” (art presentation)
Tessa Garland, Consumerism and Art (art presentation)

RSVP ricarda.vidal@sas.ac.uk so we know roughly how many people to expect.

Marina Vishmidt, “Speculation as Mode of Production: Art, Money and the Formalism of Value”
Speculation, as a mode of abstraction that deals with undefined possibilities, is a faculty common to creative practice and finance. Art and money draw closer, as risk management becomes the common-sense of a thoroughly financialised and perilous social world. In the last few decades, both art and money have de-materialised. They are intertwined in the ideology of freedom; the emancipatory premises of art are closely analogous to, historically bound up with, the liberation from necessity and tradition offered by capitalism. Art is both a commodity and the alibi for the domination of the commodity; money is both a commodity and paves the way out of commodity society, given enough of it. Each is a law that acts most forcefully in its abeyance. But the comparisons also have a limit, and that is where I would like to bring out the side of speculation that constitutes a break with the present; this would be politics. For this, we have to think about work, for work seems to contradict both art and money; it is necessity, it is unfreedom. But capitalist work is also close to art and money; it can be anything, it is an empty form, 'abstract labour'; it is useless without value to give it a law.
Normally, art and money act as buffers for each other's speculative urges. Speculation can be said to pivot on an individual relationship to the unknown; the speculation that constitutes organised political action being instead an outbreak of singularity that casts individuals and their relations in doubt. Can this singularity also be found in, and be fuelled by, the relationship of speculation to art? In other words, if unchecked speculation results in a crisis for money, where does an excess of speculation lead art?

Carolyn Kay, “Economics and Gaming” (art presentation)
In economics and gaming, it is the arrangement, movement and speculative position of familiar ciphers that engages expectations and values. The illusion of randomness, of chance, fuels participation in a rigged game. My installations, sculptures, photographs, and drawings reference abstract systems of valuation and calculation including fiscal and gambling imagery. The subversion of quantitative expectations as suggested systems transform or mutate invites subjective narrative to replace logic and chance. Growing up in Las Vegas with a father who is a professional gambler and my own experiences with various finance related day jobs has influenced my art. Georg Simmel’s “The Philosophy of Money,” Mark Shell’s “Art & Money,” Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Lawrence Weiner, Maurizio Cattelan, Cildo Meireles, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, to name a few, are artists whose work lends context to my own.
My installations use a variety of materials, are often ephemeral and occasionally recycled. Currently, I am exploring new media including digital photography and video. www.carolynkay.com

Tessa Garland, Consumerism and Art (art presentation)
Tessa Garland creates illusionary atmospheric video work out of everyday visits to familiar spaces. In this presentation Tessa will focus upon a body of work that she made in Gallions Reach Retail Park in Beckton, East London. The screened videos were made during the boom years of 2006 when shopping and more shopping was the name of the game! The videos take an ironic view of consumerism and the bizarre nature of the shoppers. The work made at Gallions Reach attempts to create an implied narrative that references early science fiction films from the 1950's - 1970's where strange and darker forces are at work.
Tessa Garland is a practicing visual artist and curator based in London. She has exhibited extensively, in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and internationally since 1990. http://www.tessagarland.com/
N.B. Tessa will not be able to attend, but she has sent an artist statement and two of her films, which will be presented by Ricarda Vidal.

The Seminar in Visual Culture aims to create a forum for practicing artists, researchers, curators, students, and others interested in visual culture to present, discuss and explore the various aspects of a given theme within the field. In 2009, to keep apace with the present credit-crunching times, the theme is Money.
While the media are providing us with endless analyses of the credit crisis from all imaginable economic angles, it is now perhaps time to look at how artists and writers are responding to Nasdaq and FTSE100, to shiny coins and colourful banknotes and to the repetitive images of worried brokers shouting into their mobile phones. After all, money is itself an object of design and has long been the subject of the creative arts and the credit crunch has not only inspired economists and journalists.
The seminar looks at the relationship between art, money and the everyday - in times of crisis and of affluence. Sessions include theoretical papers, art presentations of new and existing work as well as film screenings.
For more information please contact ricarda.vidal@sas.ac.uk