Banking on Ideas?

In the wake of this week’s disastrous eviction of Occupy Wall Street (for a video recap, check out Chto Delat’s blog), the art world has taken many different responses (that is, the section of the art world that wasn’t too busy eating Marina Abramovic cake in LA…) An announcement went out over Art&Education, urging students to participate in a city-wide strike, as part of Student Week of Action. The site also reported on “Guerilla Librarians in Our Mist,” detailing the explosions of libraries forming around the various Occupy movements:

One of many segments of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been thinking about the cold months ahead, and even beyond that. They are the “guerrilla librarians” — the people organizing and distributing books and periodicals to keep the demonstrators informed and entertained. A library was established in Zuccotti Park at the very start of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, and it has received a good deal of attention. Several more sprang up as the protests spread. With the occupation movement, decentralized improvisation is the name of the game, so it’s impossible to tell just how many libraries have sprung up. But they exist in Boston and Philadelphia, in Portland, Ore. and Halifax, Nova Scotia, among other places. They are staffed by a mixture of professional librarians and activist volunteers, with “stacks” created through donations from publishers, bookstores, and individuals.

For more on the subject, check out this article by Scott McLemee.

“e-flux book co-op” at MoMA PS1, New York, September 2011.

For its part, the MoMA announced it would extend the run of the e-flux book co-op that was set up at PS1 as part of the New York Art Book Fair. Tomorrow, November 20, at noon, Berlin-based filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl will continue the co-op’s lecture series with a talk entitled “Art as Occupation: Claims for an Autonomy of Life,” which touches on  “occupation, keeping busy, global finance, and artistic production.”

Meanwhile, yesterday, a group from Occupy London is trying another approach, converting a former UBS branch into a Bank of Ideas, “where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash.” The project  sounds very close to another art-world experiment, time/bank, “a platform where groups and individuals can pool and trade time and skills, bypassing money as a measure of value” – but it also incorporates a full program of public events. Talks for today include everything from spoken word to a lectures entitled “Life in Cuba” and “Palestine and the BDS Movement.” It will be interesting to see how the movement develops.

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