The English version of the MCD#76 is available
CHANGE MONEY — We grow, We eat, We shit Money is the English version of the last one MCD#76, available for download on the Web site of MCD.
Monetary Alternative / Crypto-currencies / Fiscal Disobedience / Virtual Currencies / Time Banks / Post-internet Economy
The economic crisis of our globalized societies has at least one positive consequence—it pushes citizens, artists and activists to tackle the issue of money. Finding alternatives, inventing new forms of exchange and even foregoing currency : Change money gives an overview of this collective, electronic and shared reappropriation of money.
The first speculative bubble in the history of global finance dates to the 17th century ; it was called Tulipmania. In Holland, the rate of the tulip bulb rose exponentially to reach its climax in 1637 — at that time, one bulb was worth more than a painting by Rembrandt… The origin of this first speculative crisis (of course, both the bulb and the bubble deflated, provoking an economic crisis) should be credited to a form of speculative hysteria.
Money, value, monetary exchange… These concepts have long been excluded from the field of new media, as if the Internet and Net Art were emancipated from these issues, living not on love and fresh water but on silicon and bits, living in a utopia of collective intelligence detached from economic constraints. On one side, the global financial crisis — from U.S. subprimes to sovereign debt in Europe to Chinese speculative economies; on the other side, the emergence of crypted alternative currencies such as bitcoin have shown that globalization is also an “ideal” moment to disconnect cash flow from flow of people and goods. The same algorithms that currently allow our computers to multiply their calculating power contributed to this disconnection in the field of financial markets. Speculative money flows faster than what the economy humanly produces. Without having contemplated, studied, tackled head-on the issue of money, information theorists were trapped once the crisis occurred…
Change money — We grow money, we eat money, we shit money.
MCD #76 observes and presents a range of proposals, actions, thoughts about money in the Internet age. Yesterday the tulip, a merchandise far removed from the idea of currency, today garlic, joyously and furiously brandished as an exchange value (1) … MCD magazine invited us — an American hacktivist artist living in Paris and working everywhere on the Net and around the world, Shu Lea Cheang, and the founder of Poptronics, media for online hacktivist cultures, Annick Rivoire — to invest its pages. From Greece, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Africa, Spain, UK… artists and theorists, journalists and citizen hacktivists have contributed to this panorama of money in the age of decentralized networks. Change money was conceived internationally, via network, and in three parts.
We grow money studies initiatives of citizen and/or artistic alternative currencies, such as the Lewes pound, local currency of a little English town with a revolutionary past, or the Gibling, trading currency of an Austrian punk collective, or the Afro, the unique virtual currency of the African continent. In a time of crisis, there are many answers : artists create banks, currency, citizens invent alternatives to institutionalized systems, money takes on another value (we spend locally, we grow money…).
We eat money proposes a society that ignores money, either because the system has simply collapsed, as was the case in Argentina in the 1990s, or because the communities mistrust it and build alternatives such as the Zone to be defended in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, near Nantes in France, which is very practically attempting to bring down economism by cultivating potatoes and molding flour… In Greece, time banks have invented another form of (non-commercial) exchange, trading knowledge and skills since the debt crisis. In Spain, artist Núria Güell distributes her lessons in fiscal disobedience. In the felted world of contemporary art, Kate Rich does commerce with her Feral Trade, which returns “the vacuity excedent of art”. In France, artists take care of themselves, evoking a sort of Economic solidarity with art in order to improve their economic situation. One thing is certain, 2015 and the expansion of bitcoin have ended the “money taboo”, as proclaimed by artist and activist Jaromil.
Since the emergence of bitcoin and so-called alternative currencies (no central bank or sovereign state), it’s a new deal. As we enter the age of networked banks and the decentralized crypto-currencies of “alt-coins”, Change money raises the question of currency’s post-Internet future. We shit money poses the theoretical, practical, political questions of the moment : should we burn the bitcoin, should we control the expansion of virtual currencies, does the value of virtual transactions make silicon the new gold ounce of the 21 st century? Are wemoving toward a society with no monetary regulation? Are P2P money, crowdfunding, crypto-currencies our economic future? Should we go even further, toward economy zero, euro zero? Now is the time for germinating open source crypto-currencies.
SHU LEA CHEANG & ANNICK RIVOIRE
(1) Agliomania, project by Shu Lea Cheang, see page 16.
MCD gives special thanks to all the writers and translators who contributed to this issue.
Alain Le Cabrit, Alexis Rowell, Annick Rivoire, Brett Scott, Denis Roio alias Jaromil, Économie solidaire de l’art, Effie Amanatidou, Ewen Chardronnet, Geert Lovink, Gerald Nestler, Giorgos Gritzas, Giselle Beiguelman, Gregory Chatonsky, Harry Halpin, Karolos Iosif Kavoulakos, Kate Rich, Lenara Verle, Mabel Tapia, Marco Radium Sachy, Maria Ptqk, Michael Aschauer, Michel Bauwens, Nathaniel Tkacz , Olivier Auber, Paolo Cirio, Primavera De Filippi, Regine Debatty, Shu Lea Cheang, Stephanie Reisinger, Tanja Brandmayr, Tiziana Terranova.
- MCD #76 – CHANGE MONEY
We grow, We eat, We shit Money -------- Monetary Alternative / Crypto-currencies / Fiscal Disobedience / Virtual Currencies / Time Banks / Post-internet Economy -------- Guest Editor : Shu Lea Cheang - Assistant Guest Editor : Annick Rivoire -------- ENGLISH VERSION
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