Radical media, politics and culture.

Oliver Ressler, "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"

"Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"

A project by Oliver Ressler

Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana (SI)

Opening: Wednesday, 29 October, 8 p.m.

30 October - 29 November 2003


After the loss of a countermodel for capitalism -- which socialism, in its real, existing form presented until its collapse -- alternative concepts for economic and social development face difficulties at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In the industrial nations "alternatives," are, namely, only broadly discussed when they do not question the existing power relations of the capitalist system and representative democracies. Other socio-economic approaches are, on the other hand, labeled utopian, devalued, and excluded from serious discussion if even considered at all.In the framework of the theme-specific installation, "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies," the focus will be on diverse concepts, models, and utopias for alternative economies and societies which share in common a rejection by the capitalist system of rule. For each concept, an interview will be carried out from which an English video will be produced. In the exhibition, these single-channel videos, which range from 20 to 37 minutes, will be shown on separate monitors thus forming the central elements of the artistic installation.

Presented in the framework of the project are alternative societal and economic models such as "Inclusive Democracy" from Takis Fotopoulos (GB/GR), "Participatory Economy" from Michael Albert (U.S.A.), and "Free Cooperation" from Christoph Spehr (G). Nancy Folbre (U.S.A.) speaks about her concept of "Caring Labor," and Marge Piercy (U.S.A.) speaks about the feminist-anarchist utopias of her social fantasies. As an interesting historical model, the workers' self-management in Yugoslavia in the sixties and seventies will be thematized in the exhibition by Todor Kuljic (SCG). Models developed in other specific historical contexts such as "La Commune" in Paris (1870-1871) and the workers' collectives during the Spanish Civil War (1936-38) will be thematized in the further course of the project.

Chosen for each video will be one quotation significant for the alternative model that it presents. The quote will be placed directly on the floor and the walls of the exhibition room as a several meter long text piece. This floor lettering, achieved with adhesive film, leads exhibition visitors directly to the corresponding videos, yet the quotes also overlap one another and subdivide the room into different sections.

The exhibition project will be continually expanded in the coming years through further economic and social concepts. These form a non-hierarchically arranged pool, which offers stimulus and suggestions for contemplation of social alternatives and possibilities for action. The plan is to realize the installation "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies" as a series of exhibitions, regularly expanded by new videos.

"Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies" is a project realized in the framework of republicart (www.republicart.net), coordinated by Gregor Podnar and produced in cooperation with the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg. The project is supported by the EU-Program Culture 2000, the BKA section for the arts, the cultural ministry of the Republic of Slovenia, and the cultural department of the city of Ljubljana.