inmersiones 2013

“We need to change fiction [relating to money] – that is very important. It is important and I would say that it could be the great challenge for contemporary artists. It is the responsibility of contemporary artists to propose a new fiction.”

Alain Badiou, Occidente: Portraits, Visions and Utopia [1]

Picking up the gauntlet thrown by artists such as Alain Badiou, Immersions, the Congress of artists of the Basque Country and Navarre, proposes the concept of anti-money as the guiding principle of its sixth edition.

We know (or we believe we know) what money is quite well. Money, just like language, is a system of symbols. Or rather, a system which uses just one symbol. Money is precisely what can be used instead of any another thing. A general equivalent. A signifier whose association with the set of natural numbers allows the value of any object or service to be represented.

It seems clear that money as such, money as we know it or as we have been told, involves a number of evils. Greed, for example. And violence too. In this sense, Badiou pointed out: “The passion for money replaces the passion for all the things we want”. And also: “Money is what organises the violence of competition. Since the beginning, we have killed mainly for money.” (Ibid.)

The partial satisfaction of the infinite need for money has produced the current great inflation of the symbol (money) with regard to what is symbolised (available goods). According to the Skidelskies [2], today there is 10 times more money in the world (700 billion dollars) than goods for that price. Everything that can be purchased on the earth currently has a total approximate price of only 70 billion dollars (more or less).

On the other hand, we know little about the anti-money. Anti-money would be for money what the Antichrist is for Christ or what antimatter is for matter. Its exact opposite. Anti-money could be anything through which a limit would be put to the disastrous excesses of capital. In opposition to money that does not represent a real wealth, the creation of a real wealth that cannot be represented by money might be advisable.

With anti-money we could defend ourselves to a certain extent from the extortion to which we are subjected unremittingly by large and small accumulators of capital: the need to work within the system. As, according to the classical Marxist definition, capital is only that, work. The work of any one of us, accumulated by someone who is stronger or cleverer. And, although it is true that some are seduced to work through the promise of wealth, the great majority work because of the threat of a greater poverty. This situation will lead inexorably to the exclusion from the working system.