Institutional Collaborators

Stills

Stills is Scotland’s leading centre for photography.  Opened in 1977, Stills now comprises a production centre (including open-access darkrooms, digital labs and subsidised hire equipment) alongside gallery and events spaces.  Commissioning new works, running unique artist residencies and presenting a vibrant events programme are activities which draw together the production and presentation aspects of Stills’ activities.

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CCA

Founded in 1992, CCA is a unique contemporary arts organisation at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre and vibrant cultural community. Providing a platform for cutting edge contemporary visual art, performance, film, music, literature and other events, CCA delivers a dynamic artistic and educational programme for a diverse audience to access the arts.  A melting pot for artists to explore new ideas and move beyond the traditional boundaries of their discipline, CCA is a hub for an eclectic network of cultural organisations and individuals throughout Glasgow.

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University of Edinburgh

Since 2011 the University of Edinburgh is home to Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), where ECONOMY was initiated. ECA actively supports original research and critical inquiry into art and art history, design, culture, environments, media and music. The College incorporates a thriving undergraduate community as well as a Graduate School where hundreds of students pursue research in areas ranging from contemporary art theory to digital culture, urban design, fashion and composition. ECA maintains active collaborations with other disciplines in the College of the Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) and beyond.

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Curators

Kirsten Lloyd

Kirsten Lloyd is Associate Curator at Stills, Edinburgh and a doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. http://edinburgh.academia.edu/KirstenLloyd

Angela Dimitrakaki

Angela Dimitrakaki is a writer and Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh. Visit http://edinburgh.academia.edu/AngelaDimitrakaki

Project Supporters

 

 

       

       

       

 

Finnish Arts Council

Nancie Massey Charitable Trust

The University of Edinburgh Development Trust

 

About

ECONOMY is a curatorial project examining the outstanding and increasing visibility of economic relations and their impact on everything that we do or, indeed, are. Since the 1990s, capitalism as a global system has been mutating into an aggressive form of economic reductionism.  At this moment in the history of capitalism, rampant economic oppression and a regime of crisis are transforming livelihoods and lives, yet also bringing forth an awareness about the necessity for struggle on all fronts. As a result, a new economic subject is displacing postmodernism’s celebrated cultural subject. But how and where does this take place exactly? Can it be observed in our everyday reality? And does the emergence of an economic subject indicate a new phase in the history of contemporary art?

Engaging theoretical reflection and contemporary artistic practice, ECONOMY intends to explore possible answers to these questions through public dialogue. As part of this effort, this website aspires to provide room for open debate and to facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst all those who feel connected to the art world as workers, users or viewers but who are also keen to understand the interaction between art and the broader transformation of production in the early 21st century.

Launched in December 2012, the ECONOMY website hosts two Zones. In Zone 1, Exhibition, you can find information about the international show and its events programme opening at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) and Edinburgh’s Stills in January 2013. To avoid limiting participation only to those who can attend in person, the ECONOMY website hosts Zone 2, a public forum entitled Art World/Real World/Possible World. In Zone 2 you can contribute to the debates around issues that matter to you from wherever you are and in this way also help shape the direction and focus of the live events. To get the discussions started, each month a new thread will open with a short text by an invited author to which you can respond. You can also post an image, video clip or weblink on the Image Archive and contribute to expanding awareness around what ‘economy’ means. Finally, we hope that the ECONOMY Reading Room, also in Zone 2, will be a useful resource.

We hope that the material in both Zone 1 and Zone 2 will contribute to a genuine exchange of ideas and practices that connect art to a broader framework of action. Welcome!

Framing ECONOMY

ECONOMY focuses on the developments of the past two decades, that is, since when capitalism emerged as a globally dominant system following the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, the first decade after the Cold War, it was already evident that two almost antithetical processes were underway.  On the one hand, artists were getting increasingly interested in labour, including the conditions of their own labour. On the other hand, neoliberalism became a dominant ideology within the art world and beyond. In the 21st century both trends have continued: we now have scores of artworks and exhibitions focusing specifically on labour or some aspect of production (see our Reading Room here) while at the same time the capitalist markets rule the destinies of individuals and nations. ECONOMY is an opportunity to think through the urgent issues raised by these developments and to address themes that range from migration, sexuality, the environment, the ideology of work and the crisis of democracy to the quest for alternatives.  

A few words about the making of ECONOMY

ECONOMY is a collaboration between Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, both of them researchers at the University of Edinburgh. As the core project, the exhibition ECONOMY tells different stories about how economy produces us, as individuals and communities, as we become productive in economic terms. The exhibition across Edinburgh and Glasgow will be complemented by film screenings, workshops and lectures in addition to two residency-based commissions by Scottish photographer Owen Logan and the Austrian collective WochenKlausur. The curatorial project and the idea for its accompanying website grew out of Angela and Kirsten’s shared concerns. The recurrence of certain questions in these discussions led to the priorisation of keywords, which the curators have used to demarcate the project’s conceptual focus: life, work, sex, enclosures, crisis, spectres, exodus.  The online Reading Room, curated by Harry Weeks, hosts material that hopefully justifies the keyword selection. Yet there is no reason why this list should not be questioned, expanded, revised on this website with the aim of making apparent what we mean when we say that the economy constitutes us and we constitute the economy.

ECONOMY is the third and last instalment of a wider curatorial project initiated by Kirsten and entitled Social Documents, including also the group show The Ethics of Encounter (2010-11) and Allan Sekula: Ship of Fools (2012), both at Stills, Edinburgh. As a team effort, ECONOMY is based on Kirsten’s investigation into how contemporary art is implicated in the imaginative documentation of social life and Angela’s art historical enquiry into global capitalism’s impact on contemporary art as a complex production process. Both curators are indebted to the artists and theorists whose breakthroughs in these fields have provided and continue to provide undiminished inspiration.