The exchange of commodities is an economy with no leftovers. After the conclusion of a transfer of goods and equivalent value, buyers and sellers no longer owe each other anything. The gift, by contrast, initiates an unequal and unfinished relationship of mutual dependence. Because the protagonists of this act share something with each other, they come closer to each other. At the same time, they distance themselves from each other, because every gift presses for a reciprocation, whose value is usually difficult to rate for both parties.
Thus, the logic of the gift provokes the question of a social relationship that must be constantly redefined. It can be accompanied by confusion, waste, manipulation, humiliation, or happiness. The gift is seldom successful, but it is always a violating provocation of the principle of the exchange of commodities.
Jacques Derrida regards the gift as the epitome of the impossible: A true gift would be a gift from someone who gave for no reason, without knowing what he was giving, to someone who would not then owe him anything, because the latter would not know he had been given anything. The BLACKMARKET gathers 100 ideas and experiences presenting the mechanism of symbolic exchange.
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