Crisis Explained Throughout Exhibitions

The exhibition ‘Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of Transformation of the Capital’ curated by Luigi Fassi and Katerina Gregos results an excellent starting point to launch the periodical column ‘Crisis explained throughout Exhibition’. The aim is analyze how the art word – curators, theorists, critics, artists – reads and interprets the theme of crisis and all his implication, given that only throughout the study of other point of views, it is possible to formulate a thinking that could fully investigate the underlying causes of the issues.

1. ‘Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of Transformation of the Capital’

Exhibition: ‘Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of Transformation of the Capital’
Curators: Luigi Fassi; Katerina Gregos
Date: September 20–December 1, 2013
Place: Ex-Zollamt / Halle, Bahnhofgürtel 57, 8020 Graz, Austria

Let’s start from the exhibition concept, written by the curators Luigi Fassi and Katerina Gregos. “Liquid Assets try to probe the causes and effects of the current crisis, to explore the financialization of the economy, to chart the transformations incurred by capitalism in recent years”.
It seems an enormous challenge for an exhibition, which boasts of a short catalogue edited by Mousse Publishing. In these essays, the curators unravel the morphing of capitalism, moved from tangible to immaterial or semiotic. Nowadays the products are immaterial and cognitive and the industrial production has been replaced by what has been called the ‘era of finance’ – including the growth of FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate). Capitalism has become a factor of de-civilization where ‘digital-financial hyper-abstraction’ is liquidating both the living body of the planet than the social body (Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi).
Now, after having testified the state of thing, the fundamental question: ‘What brought us to the current state of crisis?’
The shadow banking system, toxic investments, the belief in the efficiency of the markets, the delusion of investors, the obsession with home ownership, and the failure policy are all good reasons that push the crisis knocking to our doors. But the basic problem has a name: debt. After the ’70 the capacity to spend money and buy goods has also decreased but, in order to keep up demand, the credit economy and the debt has encouraged. The homo economicus became ‘the indebted man’. The logic of debt has became a dramatic, unresolved political issue.
The lessons of the Great Depression of 1930s seemed to have been lost on those who helped create the conditions for the 2008 financial meltdown. The markets cannot always automatically correct themselves and the accumulation of debt by the non-governments sector was a key mechanism which pushed the economy towards the crisis.
The banks themselves are overwhelmingly responsible for the crisis, in the last years they have become structures which are concerned with profits for themselves and their shareholders. Their size has made them not only ‘too big to fil’ but also too big to be managed – creating an impasse and one of the biggest systemic failures of recent times.
Finally, the myth of constant growth and the idea that markets are solid has been shattered.
Now we are in the era of biocapitalism (Christian Marazzi). Capitalism could offer no other than themselves, using people as instrument to make profit – user information became source of value (Facebook, Google). Finance is not separate to politics: in the neoliberal system economic absorbs the political and by doing so it produces a new subjectivity.

Coming back to the starting point of the discussion the presented works of ‘Liquid Asset’ exhibition constitute an investigative and critical exploration of these issues and aim to shed light on the development of the economy. Video, performance, sculptures, installations bring to the fore the dramatic changes that the entanglement between capital and the political have been enacting on the individual and social body. It is important to underline that the artworks in ‘Liquid Assets’ do not seek to escape into an unobtainable utopia, but rather utilize various methodologies in order to dismantle the matrix of power. The exhibition would offer an opportunity to re-evaluate our society’s priorities, and seek to open up a space for imagining another way of existence.

The presented artists are Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck & Media Farzin, Eric Baudelaire, James Beckett, Alain Bornain, Danilo Correale, Marianne Flotron, Zachary Formwalt, Alexandros Georgiou, Goldin+Senneby, Núria Güell, Jan Peter Hammer, David Harvey, Kennedy Browne, Gustav Metzger, Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova, Oliver Ressler, Salinas & Bergman, Visible Solutions, Wooloo.

Giulia Gregnanin

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