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Art House Index, a lecture-performance at XX Image Symposium at CA2M, Madrid

In a new performance, that was presented for the first time during the lecture program of the upcoming 13th Istanbul Biennial, Vermeir & Heiremans continue their long-term research on the symbiosis of art, architecture, economy and law. Art House Index addresses the porous relation between art and finance, while researching the possible creation of a new financial instrument. The worlds of contemporary art and of high finance show an uncanny number of parallels. One only needs to think of the fictional attribution of value, relying to a large extent on the confidence and belief of their participants… While speaking to investment bankers about contemporary financial products and their intrinsic fictional nature, both artists were struck by the creativity, albeit with an alchemical side to it, of their line of business. It almost felt like speaking to conceptual artists, but for the fact that these people were operating in the “real world”. Using codes of fiction and reality, Art House Index presents a networked toolkit that merges art and real estate into a single lucrative financial instrument. Its value lies in the way it transforms an opaque immobile product that is difficult to trade, like a house or art, into a transparent, virtual investment vehicle that is very accessible for a great number of investors. The Art House Index aims to critically assert art itself as a producer of value. In their lecture-performance Vermeir & Heiremans generate the artistic and economic context that is necessary to design Art House Index as a speculative construct within and beyond the art market.


Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M)

Speculating on change

17 — 20 jun 2013

Directed by Pablo Martínez and Vincent Meessen

 Participants confirmed: Lars Bang Larsen, Fritzia Irizar, Luis Jacob, Santiago López Petit, Asier Mendizabal, Andrea Phillips,  Katleen Vermeir & Ronny Heiremans.

These days the semiotic control associated with cognitive capitalism have become part of the fabric of life in all its aspects. The internet age has, of course, opened up space for the collection and redistribution of knowledge, but to turn a profit from these new spaces, the knowledge economy must imperatively colonise the time of users. This globalised semiocapitalism thus reconfigures various cultural ethoses by subjecting them to uninterrupted information flows, thereby saturating users' attention spans. In this context the self-entrepreneurial artist, combining independence, creativity, flexibility, and above all self-exploitation, has become a cultural “role model” – the perfect embodiment of the neo-liberal script that openly fantasises about a world of creative, competitive operators engaging in self-exploitation by speculating on potential symbolic added value.

The specific forms of positivism associated with populist cultural policies and art speculation pose a threat to the values of autonomy, opposition and radical negativity. Some artistic practices seek to transform the conditions of their alienation into productive resources in response to the widespread trend towards commodification and the precariat. Such artists strive to regain control over their time and over a form of sociability that escapes the temporality of capitalism by experimenting with what initially appear to be incompatible syntheses between original critical forms and financial autonomy.

This “productive alienation” throws the voices of the codes like a ventriloquist, appropriating the protocols of finance and trade. It draws on the social time and knowledge-sharing typical of self-organisation. It subtly plays with the agendas of other actors in the art field. Such “alienated art” develops an “economy of attention”, short-circuiting the official channels in the hope of re-routing missing people towards works that potentially meet their needs.

The artists, critics, and thinkers invited to speak at the 20th Jornadas will question the specificities of forms and protocols established by artists to renew the terms of criticism, thereby shaping the “community to come”.

Avda. Constitución, 23 
28931 Móstoles