Blackmarket - Bern, September 2012

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Friday, 7th of September 2012
Vidmarhallen / Vidmar +
Konzert Theater Bern
8.00 pm — 11.30 pm

Check-in open at 7.00 pm!
Entry free!
Expert discussion 1— CHF!

Concept & space design:
Hannah Hurtzig / Mobile Academy
Direction & project management: Philipp Hochleichter /Mobile Academy
Research & interviews:
Eva-Maria Bertschy, Carena Brenner, Martina Scherler
Production management & PR: Martina Scherler
Assistance set design:
Anna Bucher
Atelier für visuelle Kommunikation HKB, Kunz
Project management Biennale Bern: Barbara Stocker
PR Biennale Bern: Gisela Trost
Technical management: Christoph Gorgé
Manager stage operations Konzert Theater Bern: Claude Ruch
Announcer: Milva Starck
Hosts & hostesses: David Berger, Gabi Frei, Gina Gurtner, Nele Jahnke, Nathalie Lustenberger, Stefanie Mauron, Svetlana Marchenko, Tina Raaflaub,
Olaf Schmidt, Anna Stein
Infrared receivers: Ellerbrock Konferenztechnik
Bookstall: Münstergass-Buchhandlung

With special thanks to Roman Brotbeck, Beatrix Bühler, Pirkko Busin, Priska Gisler, Carolin Hochleichter, Luzia Hürzeler, Tobias Lambrecht, Maike Lex, and the workshops and the fundies of the Konzert Theater Bern

A production by the Mobile Academy Berlin, the Intermediality Research Group at the Bern University of the Arts (HKB), the Biennale Bern, and the Konzert Theater Bern.




Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge
and Non-Knowledge No. 15

On the gradual dematerialization of a medium of exchange

“Why, I reflected, does the vault not collapse, given that there is nothing holding it up? It stands, I replied, because all the stones want to collapse at once.”
Heinrich von Kleist

all Photos by Loulou d'Aki

Our relationship to money has become increasingly ambivalent in recent years: based on the division of labor, our globalized life is scarcely conceivable without money, and yet doubts are growing as to its ability to sustain a stable and meaningful social order. Its credibility is built on its involvement in cultic practices, its coverage by real valuable objects, or in securities backed by the state. Its practicability has helped it over the centuries to gain worldwide, hardly unquestioned, acceptance across all cultures. In the meantime though we can hardly imagine where money comes from, where it goes, what it consists of, and what guarantees that we can still buy something with it tomorrow. Even before the abolishment of the gold standard only a tiny portion of business was transacted with coins and banknotes. Today banks create our money literally from nothing; and unfathomable sums circulate around the globe with lightning speed as mere numbers in computers.

Little attention was paid to money for a long time; it was considered to be a neutral ‘commodity’ that efficiently simplified barter transactions. The crises of recent years have laid bare the internal dynamics of credit-based money however. The propulsive, accelerating impact of interest and interest on interest demands an exponential growth projected into all eternity, contrasting starkly to our world of finite resources. What has loomed threateningly over our heads for a few years seems like an ever-recurring attack by the future on the present: in order to press ahead with the endless proliferation of money, the engineers of complex financial products and futures are turning more and more insecurities of the future into purportedly acceptable risks in the present. Today money thus seems like an invisible, self-sufficient juggernaut that is increasingly degrading people from the subject of history to its object.

But the original function of money is to serve: money makes society possible, for it connects people, things, goods, and worlds, and separates them again in turn; without money, it is highly doubtful that they would ever come together and find common ground. In this BLACKMARKET we would like to discuss the relational aspect of the medium money. We want to take a closer look at how we handle money and what our understanding of it is, so as to be able to trace other principles in relation to work, value, and resources.

Can we again put a brake on money’s inherent dynamic? Are we now dependent on the very creatures we have made? Or is it, perhaps, still OUR MONEY after all?

Taking place regularly since 2005, the BLACKMARKET FOR USEFUL KNOWLEDGE AND NON-KNOWLEDGE is developed further and adapted thematically at each new venue. The BLACKMARKET is at once a show room and production space in which narrative formats of mediating knowledge are tried out and presented, as are transdisciplinary research approaches on learning and unlearning knowledge and non-knowledge.

The public, for the evening more like clients, can chose from 26 keywords: ranging from “A” for “Arbeit” (“work”) through to “Z” for “Zukunftsszenarien” (“Future Scenarios”). A total of 57 experts will sit at 18 tables over the course of the evening and offer snippets of their knowledge which can be related and learnt in 30 minutes.

In this way BLACKMARKET 15 will lexicalize key aspects of money live: a medium that is becoming increasingly intangible for the individual the more areas of our life it is actually determining.

BLACKMARKET knowledge is offered in the following languages:
G erman, English, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian