Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies

Januray 9th to January 15th, 2004

After the loss of a counter-model to capitalism - as real existing socialism formed one until its collapse - alternative concepts of economic and social development have a hard time at the beginning of the 21st century. “Alternatives” are, after all, only discussed more broadly in the industrialized countries if they do not challenge the existing power relations in the capitalist system and in representative democracies. Other socio-economic approaches, on the other hand, are labeled utopian, devalued and excluded from serious debate, if they are perceived at all.

The thematic installation “Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies” focuses on different concepts, models and utopias for alternative economies and societies, whose common feature is the rejection of the capitalist system of domination. Interviews were conducted for each concept, from which a video in English was produced as part of the project. These single-channel videos, 20 to 37 minutes in length, are shown on separate monitors in the exhibition and form the central elements of the artistic installation.

The project presents alternative models of society and economy such as “Inclusive Democracy” by Takis Fotopoulos (GB/GR), “Participatory Economy” by Michael Albert (USA) and “Free Cooperation” by Christoph Spehr (D). Nancy Folbre (USA) talks about her concept “Caring Labor”, Marge Piercy (USA) about the feminist-anarchist utopias of her Social Fantasies. As an interesting historical model, Todor Kuljic (YU) addresses the workers’ self-management in the former Yugoslavia in the exhibition. Models that emerged in other specific historical contexts, such as “La Commune” in Paris (1870-1871) or the workers’ collectives during the Spanish Revolution (1936-38), will be addressed later in the work.

The exhibition project is to be continuously expanded in the coming years to include other economic and social concepts. These form a non-hierarchically structured pool that offers suggestions and proposals for thinking about social alternatives and possibilities for action. It is planned to realize the installation “Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies” in a series of exhibitions, which will be regularly expanded with new videos.

Coordinated by Oliver Ressler

“Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies” is a cooperation within republicart, coordinated by Gregor Podnar (Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana), and supported by the European Union program “Culture 2000”, the BKA Art Section in Vienna, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.