[NetBehaviour] It’s the Political Economy, Stupid

netbehaviour netbehaviour at furtherfield.org
Wed Jan 9 10:41:07 CET 2013

It’s the Political Economy, Stupid

Curated by Oliver Ressler & Gregory Sholette

Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland
01 February – 26 May 2013, Wing, MEDIApoint
Opening: Friday 01 February 2013 at 18.00
opening performance by Flo6x8

Curator and Artist Talks: Friday 01 February 2013 at 12.00
Oliver Ressler and artists from Flo6x8 will be present, free admission

Participating Artists:
Filippo Berta (IT), Julia Christensen (US), Field Work (DK), Yevgeniy 
Fiks, Olga Kopenkina & Alexandra Lerman (US), Flo6x8 (ES), Melanie 
Gilligan (CA), Jan Peter Hammer (DE), Alicia Herrero (AR), Institute For 
Wishful Thinking (US), Sherry Millner & Ernie Larsen (US), Ólafur 
Ólafsson (IS) & Libia Castro (ES), Isa Rosenberger (AT), Dread Scott 
(US), Superflex (DK), Zanny Begg (AU) & Oliver Ressler (AT)

Additional program has been scheduled, on the occasion of the exhibition:
Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki: Workshop Oliver Ressler: Alternative 
Economics, Alternative Societies, 28 January 10-16.00 and 29 January at 
10-13.00, advance enrolment
Lecture and book launch Oliver Ressler: Take The Square, 29 January at 
15.00, free admission
Oliver Ressler will present the exhibition and the publication It’s the 
Political Economy, Stupid: The Global Financial Crisis in Art and Theory 
published by Pluto Press (UK) and Pori Art Museum

Pori Art Museum lecture series: Lecture Oliver Ressler: Spatial 
Occupations, 30 January 2013 at 18.30 Pori Art Museum, lecture hall, 
free admission

It’s the Political Economy, Stupid
Curated by Oliver Ressler & Gregory Sholette

Globalization, privatization, flexible work schedules, deregulated 
markets; 30 years of neoliberal capitalism has driven most of the 
world’s governments to partly or wholly abandon their previous role as 
arbitrators between the security of the majority and the profiteering of 
the corporate sector. It comes as no surprise therefore that when 
problems in the US real estate and financial sectors resulted in a 
global financial crisis starting in 2008, governments all over the world 
pumped trillions of dollars into banks and insurance companies, 
essentially creating the largest transfer ever of capital into the 
private sector. One argument often cited for this unprecedented action 
was that many of these transnational corporations were “too big to 
fail.” Still, despite these enormous expenditures millions of people 
soon lost their homes and livelihood, and the economic and social damage 
has not yet ended. The cost of these bailouts is staggering. States 
borrowed capital to rescue financial institutions resulting in growing 
national debt and virtual insolvency for some countries. Managing these 
budget deficits might have been possible if wealthy transnational 
corporations were forced to assist the economy, but neoliberal 
governments instead chose to introduce belt-tightening programs that 
radically reduce public services and social welfare. Needless to say, 
these austerity measures do not necessarily reflect the will of the 
majority, and increasing voter apathy is one serious side effect of such 
top-down decision-making.
Today, we are facing a catastrophe of capitalism that has also become a 
major crisis for representative democracy. The very idea of the modern 
nation state is in jeopardy as the deterritorialized flow of finance 
capital melts down all that was solid into raw material for market 
speculation and bio-political asset mining. It is the social order 
itself, and the very notion of governance with its archaic promise of 
security and happiness that has become another kind of modern ruin. 
Theorist Slavoj Žižek puts it this way, “the central task of the ruling 
ideology in the present crises is to impose a narrative which will place 
the blame for the meltdown not on the global capitalist system as such, 
but on secondary and contingent deviations (overly lax legal 
regulations, the corruption of big financial institutions, and so on).” [1]
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid [2] brings together a group of 
superlative artists who focus on the current crisis in a sustained and 
critical manner. Rather than acquiesce to our current calamity this 
exhibition asks if it is not time to push back against the disciplinary 
dictates of the capitalist logic and, as if by some artistic sorcery, 
launch a rescue of the very notion of the social itself.

[1] Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. Verso Books, 
London/New York 2009, p. 19
[2] The title It’s the Political Economy, Stupid is a re-phrasing by 
Slavoj Žižek of the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid”, a widely 
circulated phrase used during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 
presidential campaign against incumbent President George Bush Senior.

The exhibition It’s the Political Economy, Stupid launched a preview 
exhibition at Open Space in Vienna (2011), continued at Austrian 
Cultural Forum in New York and Centre of Contemporary Art in 
Thessaloniki (both 2012).
The show at Pori Art Museum is carried out in co-operation with Austrian 
Embassy (Helsinki).
The workshop Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies is carried out 
in co-operation with Reality Research Center, Kiasma Theatre and 
Austrian Embassy (Helsinki).

The new publication It´s the Political Economy, Stupid: The Global 
Financial Crisis in Art and Theory published by Pluto Press (UK) and 
Pori Art Museum is available here.

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