The Market of Values - Dortmund Proposal

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Cut-off time: Saturday 21. July midnight

I will then produce a proposal on CP letterhead and will send it over to Inke – HMKV in Dortmund.


Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, researchers, designers, academics and others hosted by Chelsea College of Art and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. We have a long-standing interest in art, public goods, spaces, services and knowledge, and a track record of producing original, participatory events, such as PARADE in 2010 (discussed below).

For the New Industries Festival in Dortmund in 2013, we are proposing a Market of Values.

All values are temporal, propositional and relative. The wide spectrum of possible values in different economies are often dominated by exploitative and competitive markets. Enthusiasm-based initiatives, like Critical Practice, are constrained by capitalist labour relations and systems of commodity exchange. Through the Market of Values we intend to creatively explore and implement different systems for producing, distributing and exchanging values.

Market of Values

For the Industrial Festival 2013 (working title) in Dortmund we would like to propose a Market of Values.

Markets are good at evaluation, and communicating the results of this often complex process. While the idea of values distributed by the competitive market penetrate all aspects of contemporary life, other markets and economies exist, even flourish. Our market will be inspired by the ancient agora - a site of economic transaction and a space of political discourse. We will propose, explore and implement various economies and structures of exchange, such as a casino, a blood donation bank, an auction, a derivatives market, various currencies, voting systems, gift economies, waste, and many others. Some values and economies might benefit everyone, like a commons (a blood-bank, for example) and not just those who are the fiercest competitors or start with the largest assets. We imagine a street, or flea-market type assembly of structures; stalls will be hosted by artists, economists, academics, ecologists, anthropologists, civil-society groups, pressure groups, activists and others to explore existing evaluative structures and produce new ones.

The Market of Values builds on Critical Practice's ongoing interest in market structures and their self-organization. In 2008, we facilitated a Market of Ideas as part of the Festival of Europe (London, UK). A cross between a trade fair and flea-market, this one-day event addressed the question, 'What is cultural about economics?'. The effectiveness of this platform for assembling and interfacing diverse practices led us to organize a second version in 2010. This market was part of PARADE, a three-day exploration into what it means to 'be in public'. PARADE's market sought to better understand the production of 'a public' in a public space, through a distributed event consisting of thirty-five stalls, each one featuring a different approach to 'publicness'. Practitioners, families, art-worlders, civil servants, passersby, etc. - the public produced through PARADE was as diverse as it was temporary. Simply put, this public was an event, a process. The experience of those involved as they moved between stalls confirmed the market's event structure as uniquely suited for mapping complex and often elusive relations. Like 'the public,' 'values and evaluation' may be familiar aspects of everyday life.

But they can also be mysterious. What are values? How are they made manifest? How are they exchanged?

To address these questions in a Market of Values we will meet with diverse communities, inhabitants of particular districts, specific cultural groups and representatives of particular professions to encourage broad participation in the co-production and distribution of values in Dortmund. Through exploring these webs of exchange, the Market of Values will address Sarat Maharaj and Susan Kelly's question (following Marcel Duchamp), 'How do you make a work of art, that's not a work of art?'. (1) This event will evaluate the effects of art through the market's interdependent systems of exchange.


The Market of Values will be convened in the proposed public place between Dortmund's train station and the pedestrianized city center. Specifically designed market structures will be constructed (perhaps using recycled materials?). Think agora, cinema, public restrooms, etc. Building the structures over the course of roughly two weeks will unfold as an evaluative process. By mixing wage labour, volunteerism, co-production and the gift economy, we intend to experiment with different ways of evaluating and remunerating labour, stallholders and participants. Some of the stalls will be occupied by individuals and initiatives related to thriving post-industrial cultural scene in Dortmund and Ruhr area.

The market would have multiple currencies circulating, of course not all of them monetary, and an example, stalls might include:

Christian Nold whose work has included installing a local currency, the Bijlmer Euro in Amsterdam
Kottishop stalls exploring the value of locality
Valeria Graziano from Carrotworkers Collective
The Precarious Workers Brigade - a growing group of precarious workers in culture & education that calls out in solidarity with all those struggling to make a living in this climate of instability and enforced austerity.
Casino an alternative casino (to be produced)
Micro-finance bank a micro-finance bank could secure, and extend loans for the duration of the market/biennial
Red Cross Blood Donation As stall where a blood bank is in operation.
Janna Graham and Robert Sember from Ultra Red
Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser re-use of waste
Arne Hendriks exchanging skills for skills, and how to make things.
Akinori Ito Blest Corporation: Plastic to Oil
Shibuya University Network. An extracurricular activity lead by volunteer educators for primary school kids and junior high school kids.

A more theory based stalls could also be part of the market, however, the festival is producing a theoretical Conference or summit at the Industrial Festival 2013 in Dortmund:

David Graeber, anarchist anthropologist of Debt
David Harvey the most famous Marxist geographer
Matteo Pasquinelli Berlin - based critic of creative industries

(Cinema Values the screening of relevant films and documentaries on value and different modes of economy.) >> Film programme is being programmed separate to the market.

Note: These are indicative stalls. More local research would be necessary to implement some of the themes and ideas. We would benefit from plumbing local knowledge--including that of our Dortmund partners--to realise the market in a way that attends to its immediate socio-economic context.

The Market of Values will explore the distribution of value as public knowledge, embody peer-2-peer exchange, and build communal resources. Our market as an artwork would explore the effects of art in the most vital space in culture: in the production and circulation of value.

(1) Kelly, S. (2005) ‘The Transversal and the Invisible: So how do you really make a work of art that’s not a work of art?’Re-Public Art eipcp web publication,, re-printed in Pedro Barateiro and Ricardo Valentim (eds.) catalogue Temporary Collaborations, published by Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon.

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Could I suggest you include a couple of images of the market at PARADE. Might help people to picture the structure and event