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Virtual Economic Zone / Alternativa at St. Dominic’s Fair

Virtual Economic Zone / Alternativa at St. Dominic’s Fair
05.08 - 11.08.2013

Curatorial concept: Kuba Szreder
Architectural design of VEZ: Natalia Romik, Maciej Czeredys
Realization of VEZ: Agnieszka Szreder, Jan Szreder
Participating artists: Jesper Alvaer i Isabela Grosseová, Marsha Bradfield, Maya Gordon, Folke Köbberling, Jacek Niegoda
Team of VEZ: Miro Górczyński, Dorota Zapalska, Szymon Żydek

The Virtual Economic Zone is the zone of economic imagination – a live appendix of Alternativa at St. Dominic’s Fair. the Fair itself is an annual festival of street vendors, an attraction which drives hundreds of tourists to downtown Gdańsk. VEZ finds its location in the midst of this largest city fair in the Baltic region, transforming it from the inside in accordance with the principles of virtual economy. We are not going to sell leather goods and accessories, old clocks, dauby seascapes, and amber goods. In our Kiosk, a group of Polish and international artists will indulge in the experiments with various forms of non-commercial exchange, an imaginary economy, iffy trade, and topsy-turvy calculations. Contrary to special economic zones, VEZ does not follow the sanctified precepts of maximizing profits and (seemingly) rational calculation. VEZ is a temporary centre of an artistic game with the revelations of economic guidelines, trespassing the limits of economic imagination.

The architecture of VEZ, designed by Maciej Czeredys and Natalia Romik alludes to the phantasmal formula of virtual economy. It intrigues passers-by with its vertical, ruffled geometry, changing into the field of artists’ actions and interventions. A laboratory with mirror-faced walls works like a chameleon gazing into a looking-glass, both merging with its commercial surroundings and reflecting the every-day of the Fair reality.
VEZ is accompanied by a philosophical short speech on economics, arranged in co-operation with the Free/Slow University of Warsaw

Time Schedule:
05.08 - 11.08 - Marsha Bradfield, artistic research, For Your Portfolio and Mine: The rise of interpersonal equity amongst stakeholders networked through VEZ
05.08 - 06.08 - Folke Koebberling, process based installation, Tagesfiliale Köbberling Elektronik
07.08 - 08.08 - Jacek Niegoda, artistic service centre, Colour Separation Service Point
09.08 - talk with Michał Kozłowski in the framework of Free / Slow University of Warsaw, From where does the value come from, and what did the bearded philosopher from Trier have really on his mind.
09.08 - 10.08 - Maya Gordon, collection, More or Less Tangible Curiosities from the Collection of Maya Gordon
11.08 - Jesper Alvaer i Isabella Groseova, performance, Liquid Levelling


Marsha Bradfield, For Your Portfolio and Mine: The rise of interpersonal equity amongst stakeholders networked through VEZ
When it comes to cultural production, ’financial’ value is only one amongst many. Others include inspiration, endorsement and friendship. These ebb and flow in ways that resist easy capture, making them more difficult to value than Yen, Dollars, Euros or Zlotys. A successful funding application may secure cold hard cash. But how is this financing transformed into value and by/for whom? FOR YOUR PORTFOLIO AND MINE pitches an alternative mode of evaluation, one attentive to the ’actual’ diffusion and distribution of values. The project takes Virtual Economic Zone (VEZ) as a case study, investigating performative reciprocity between its financial, symbolic and interpersonal economies. This artistic research will encompass sociological observations, transversal poetics and experimental cartography, resulting in texts, videos, photos and other artworks that map the conditions of the zone’s long-term (im)possibility. FOR YOUR PORTFOLIO AND MINE is a collaborative research project by Marsha Bradfield in cooperation with Szymon Żydek and other cultural producers of VEZ.

Marsha Bradfield is an artist, curator, theoretician and academic teacher who explores the dialogic models of artistic co-operation, as well as their economic aspects. She co-operates with Critical Practice, Artleaks, Contemporary Marxist Group, Precarious Workers Brigade and Pangea Sculptors’ Centre.

Folke Köbberling, Tagesfiliale Köbberling Elektronik
Folke Köbberling turns VEZ literally into the node of resistance by installing inside a temporary branch of her pata-business Tagesfiliale Köbberling Elektronik. In 2002 the artist inherited her father´s bankrupted shop with electronic components, complete with fittings and remaining contents. Folke Köbberling rebranded the business Tagesfiliale (one-day shop) Köbberling Elektronik, which she filled with stocks of resistors and started its clandestine distribution in shopping malls, supermarkets and big chains. She did it everywhere, where she ought not to, crossing and defying regimes regulating public space. Folke Köbberling treats resistors in fashion surprisingly reminding the habits of political opposition in 1980’s, who wore resistors as badges symbolizing social resistance. Tagesfiliale, set in the cradle of Solidarity, will once again supply resistors to general public, engaging its customers in reflection on consumerism, economy, civil disobedience and public space.

Folke Köbberling graduated from artistic studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kassel, at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in Vancouver (Canada) and the University of Central Lancashire at Preston (Great Britain). Her works tackle mostly urban space as the field for artistic, social and economic experiments. Her interventions, performances and installations are critical analysis of the society which is increasingly more and more dominated by consumerism and pursuit for gain. Since 1998, she has co-operated with Matin Kaltwasser.

Jacek Niegoda, Colour Separation Service Point
Colour Separation Service Point is an artistic service for the visitors of St. Dominic’s Fair. In Jacek Niegoda’s workshop you can improve pieces of your clothing, house-hold appliances, small equipment and furniture. You can do a ladder in your nylon stockings in the ladder-mending shop, mend your shoes at the shoemaker’s, saw-up your torn bag at the purse maker’s, and in the Colour Separation Service Point you can prepare white-and-red objects. In his Service Point, you can un-stitch something, tear it off, turn-off, cut-off, break-off, separate white from red. You can restore the purity of colour to objects and fittings in the Colour Separation Service Point.
Do you feel hampered by the ideology of colours?
Are you depressed by the official policy of colours?
Come to our Colour Separation Service Point
Time for pure colours has come!
You don’t want to be white?
You can be red!
The Choice is yours!
Bring a white-red hat. After Colour Separation you will have either red or white one.
Bring a white-red wig. After Colour Separation you will have either red or white one.
Bring a white-red coffee mug. After Colour Separation you will have either red or white one.
The Colour Separation Service Point also offers household objects, already colour-separated.
Disclaimer: The Colour Separation Service Point assumes no responsibility for the final result of the services it offers.
We approve of no complaints after you have commissioned Colour Separation.

Jacek Niegoda studied at the Faculty Sculpture at the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts. He has co-operated with Wyspa Gallery and the Open Atelier (now Laznia Contemporary Centre of Art) in Gdańsk. He was a co-founder of the Central Bureau of Technological Culture (CUKT). He realises video projects and artistic actions. His works refer to the issue of relations between power, technology and art. He lives and works in Gdańsk.

Maya Gordon, More or Less Tangible Curiosities from the Collection of Maya Gordon
For more than fifty years, Maya Gordon has searched flea markets and pawn shops in her pursuit for the special object. The object which has an aura of the first childhood discoveries to mind, when the world was still enchanted. It can be a toy horse from the time of Roman Empire or a plastic effigy of Saddam Husein. These are interlinked by invisible strings, interwoven with the artist’s life, memories and desires. During the Fair, Maya will present her collection in public for the first time. She will invite visitors to an unusual stroll along the meanders of memory and the nooks and corners of fairs from all over the world.

Maya Gordon joins art with life between Poland, the country of her childhood, Tel Aviv, to where she emigrated as early as the 1950s, and Amsterdam where she has continued her artistic quest to date. In her works she tackles the issues of memory, identity and nostalgia.

Jesper Alvaer and Isabela Grosseová, Liquid Leveling
During the closing weekend of VEZ Jesper Alvaer and Isabela Grosseová will organize the liquid symposium of overflow and waste. They will hack the linear flows of market’s energies and its straight circulations. They will turn them upside down, back and forwards, directing them into deep levels of sub-consciousness. Their catalyst is soft alcohol carefully measured in five consecutive doses of gradual leveling and progressive intoxication. Their symposium will encompass a combination of geographical references to Hanza’s economic history with more elaborated exploration of shifting market realities, sculpting ideas from the depths of an aspiring but conscious drunkenness. Going through this purgatory journey, the participants in the symposium will find new affiliations to their economic surroundings. The symposium will be accompanied by visual guide, and divided strictly into five progressing levels of initiation.

Jesper Alvaer received his formal training as an artist in Prague, New York and Kitakyushu, Japan. Many of his projects may be characterized as long-term investigations that examine the effects of cultural conventions. His projects often has a non-visual aspect, or materialize as installations, publication, hearsay or performance. Alvaer is currently based in Oslo where he has been working at the Academy of Art for the last two years and preparing in Oslo a larger exhibition inquiring on ontological aspects of engagement.

Isabela Grosseová works in a variety of media. After finishing MFA at Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, she worked as an architect at Josef Pleskot’s AP Atelier in Prague and Vito Acconci studio in New York. She recently finished her postgraduate studies in Art at HISK Ghent, Belgium.

Michał Kozłowski, From where does the value come from, and what did the bearded philosopher from Trier have really on his mind
Classical economists of the 18th and 19th centuries claimed that it was work which created economic value. So did believe Karl Marx. Contemporary economy pundits have proclaimed this opinion obsolete. Value is nothing more but price and price is regulated by the supply and demand ratio. Work has nothing to do here. Work is simply one of the costs or a service which we buy on a free market. It is a commodity like anything else. Is it really?

Michał Kozłowski, PhD, lectures in philosophy at the University of Warsaw. He has been linked to the Bez Dogmatu quarterly and Le Monde Diplomatique, Polish Edition, monthly for many years. His relationship with the Fee/Slow University of Warsaw has lasted only a little shorter. He has published many scientific and non-scientific papers on politics, history, power and other phenomena of the social world. He sympathises with feminism, socialism and the like.