And what about movements with artists involved?
Art.coop is a very good example of an art-led movement, working towards a new cultural economy built on solidarity. It’s a US-based growing network of cultural producers and funders who reorganize the terms and conditions of how cultural money is distributed. It is establishing a new terminology and way of thinking that fundamentally changes the relationship between those who give and those who get money. The slogan is ‘Solidarity Not Charity’ which changes the existing dynamics and hierarchies. This relational aspect of the economy is very interesting in cultural terms: it’s based on equality and mutual reciprocity. It’s fundamentally different from philanthropy or charity.
If art wants to think of itself as progressive and radical, we need to reorganize our organizational forms, and think of art as a practice of actual “Gestaltung” rather than just welcome critical thinking.
How can the arts support the implementation of a solidarity economy?
There’s still a huge gap between the discourse and the image artists like to create, and the actual day-to-day practice in many art institutions. Many exhibitions showcase artists’ ideas and proposals for, let’s say, new economies or concepts of radical care, but at the same time they exploit their workers.
If art wants to think of itself as progressive and radical, we need to reorganize our organizational forms, and think of art as a practice of actual “Gestaltung” rather than just welcome critical thinking. Instead of producing more objects to criticize conditions, we might as well reorganize the conditions of cultural production. I just worked closely with The Showroom in London, to compost my work of the last two and a half decades, and we declared that the new in art will come from how we carefully reorganize our institutions.
Can you complete this sentence: To me this is personal, because...
“Change starts with you”. So you might want to change the world, but the thing you can change immediately is yourself. That's why it's personal.
Questions by Antonia Lagemann
ruangrupa and Lumbung documenta fifteen, A drawing of a ricebarn, Illustrating the leading motto and economy for documenta fifteen, Illustration by Iswanto Hartono, 2020
Community Economies Institute, the Economy as an Iceberg, Diverse Economies Iceberg by Community Economies Collective adapted by James Langdon, as part of the ‘Trade Show’ at Eastside Projects in Birmingham, curated by Kathrin Böhm and Gavin Wade, 2013. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Lesson in local foraging in Pushkino (Russia) as part of the Rural School of Economics, a project by Kathrin Böhm, photo by Wapke Feenstra, 2021
Myvillages, mapping the village of Pushkino (Russia) whilst walking, part of the Rural School of Economics, photo by Wapke Feenstra, 2021