what is wealth?, 2017
Video installation, in: Who Pays?, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. Curated by Christiane Meyer-Stoll.
The exhibition Who Pays? takes a look at changing ideas of money and capital and the associated transformation of meanings and values. Who Pays? brings together a number of artistic positions from the 1960s to the present. They allow us to examine our notions of wealth and poverty, of give and take, and of participation from different angles, concepts that nowadays are mostly reduced to purely economic aspects. “Everything is so very much in motion.” These words written by the author Gertrude Stein in the context of the rapid change of language in the Elizabethan age can also be taken to describe today’s fast-paced changes. Our Western societies are in a state of fundamental upheaval. Not only rising rates of burnout and depression testify to deep-lying anxieties, but also an emerging need for seclusion and safeguarding assets and values. All this in the knowledge that we are using up more resources than Earth can generate. On the other hand we see many and diverse approaches that see potentials and opportunities for a more sustainable future. What is the role of the concept of capital in this context? And what “capital” role can art play? The title of the exhibition Who Pays? is based on a fluorescent sign created by the artist group RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co) and addresses every single individual.
(Excerpt from the text by Christiane Meyer-Stoll, in: Who pays?, exhibition brochure, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, 2017).
The Video installation what is wealth? is made of 3 moments:
the Cage Room,
the Waste room and
the Wheel of fortune
the Cage Room needs a staff member to be present during the exhibition and invites the public to choose and read the publications, to waste time in the installation and to spin the wheel of fortune. The Cage Room operates like an exchange cage and is defined by a wire fencing (2m high). It contains art works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein which are stored in boxes or on display on a table, ready to be examinated. It contains works of RELAX like the useme*s, receipts, piggy banks, silk prints, T-shirts and the videos FEDERICI 2 and reservoir news. Finally it contains the production made by artist and curator Gavin Wade (Eastside Projects Birmingham) and some artists from 2002 on the "Strategic Questions" by Buckminster Fuller in 1966. Whereby these are mainly publications, posters, video pieces on laptops and various objects. The exhibition attendants have received exact instructions from RELAX on how they are to treat visitors. All are greeted and given information such as:
- An invitation to sit down, to take your time, do nothing, engage in discussions, or daydream
- The directive that all publications and objects are at their disposal. People can choose to spread out in the room and consult the selections.
- To obtain publications and objects, a deposit must be paid. The deposit pledged is a valuable, best of all a wallet, credit card, watch, mobile phone, etc. The objects are presented on a plinth pianted in blue with a mirror surface.
- The cage can be closed and locked. This allows the attendant to remain in the room but outside of the cage.
The Waste Room is defined by chairs and armchairs which are in the Gallery space. The furniture was lent by the staff of the museum.
the Wheel of Fortune is an object that visitors can touch. The values are drawn on the wheel and a projected video displays the value curves. Everybody can win something. When the wheel stops, the wheel shows the values to be interpreted or invented by the visitors. There are no game rules. Whoever wins is awarded with THE WEALTH MANIFESTO poster.