Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Economy
June 15 – July 28, 2007
Curated by João Ribas

Chantal Akerman
Kader Attia
Ursula Biemann
Mike Bouchet
Heath Bunting
Los Carpinteros
Carolina Caycedo
Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel
Harun Farocki
Eva and Franco Mattes a.k.a. 0100101110101101.ORG
Cildo Meireles
Henrik Plenge Jakobsen
Oliver Ressler
Joe Scanlan
Santiago Sierra
Rirkrit Tiravanija
Milica Tomic
Donelle Woolford

New Economy looks at the nature of artistic practice in today’s global information economy, defined by an emphasis on immaterial and knowledge-based production. In addressing notions of artistic labor in the postindustrial economic order, the exhibition also focuses on artists dealing with the social conditions and redefinitions of work implicit in a post-Fordist economy.

The term “New Economy” entered into circulation in the 1990s to define a knowledge-based form of late capitalism, heralding the productive power of information and communication technology as the engine of global markets. The 'informatisation' of production served as a catalyst for a flexible economic model favoring ideas, services, and sociability over inert commodities and industrial labor. As capital seemingly dematerialized—with knowledge workers, information, and communication at its center—industrial economies looked to downsizing, outsourcing, and structural underemployment, resulting in a correlative ‘remapping’ of labor.

Yet if the information-based model of postindustrial society values communication, creativity, and social relationships, what is the role of artistic practice in this political economy? Do artists function as migrant laborers, moving from biennial to biennial producing a form of ‘artisanalized’ information? Is studio practice a localized form of resistance to immaterial production? Is there any political agency in artists being positioned directly in contrast to the marginal elements of the body politic, afforded rights, such as that of circulation, denied to other political subjects?

New Economy takes these concerns as reflected in the artistic practice of the last decade. Whether in reassessing the value of industrial production, disrupting established economic patterns and proposing alternatives, emphasizing both the pre-industrial and informational quality of artistic labor, embracing mobility as socially progressive through the transnational character of post-studio work, revealing the disparities of our supposed ‘frictionless’ economy, or highlighting the commodification of social relationships over democratic processes, the artists in New Economy reflect the complex character of post-Fordist society.

Image: Henrik Plenge Jakobsen, The Wealth of Nations and Das Kapital, 2004, dimensions variable, courtesy the artist

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