16 and 17 April 2012: The Invisible Hand, workshop, B-open, Bergen, NO
Location: HKS / Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen, NO
Initiated by: Toril Johannessen (B-open) and Marjolijn Dijkman (ERforS)
Supported by: Bergen kommune, Stiftelsen Fritt Ord, Norsk kulturråd, Hordland fylkeskommune, NKVN and BKFH
Speakers: Richard Sheldon, Ove Jakobsen and Charles Esche
Public debate: 16 April 2012, Hordaland Art Centre at 19:00h.
Participate: please register before the 15th of March: firstname.lastname@example.org (participation is free of charge)
(Kindly note that B-open is not able to provide travel or accommodation)
Major contemporary thinkers keep repeating that it is easier to imagine the end of the world then the end of capitalism. Simultaneously, protest movements all over the world are exploring and evaluating the core principles of capitalism, believing there are alternatives. These movements make visible a dismay that has been almost invisible for a long time in the western world. In front of banks and financial institutes people express their discomfort with the way the financial world has control over daily life and politics.
In the workshop The Invisible Hand, we would like to explore the way Adam Smith (the first major theorist of what we commonly call Capitalism) has influenced contemporary rhetoric's around Capitalism. His term 'The Invisible Hand' has been used and appropriated by many speakers, with contradicting points of views, and it became an important metaphor in the discussions on the influence of the free market. Together with a historian and an economist, a group of artists will explore the roots of the capitalist way of thinking by discussing and researching Adam Smith and the way his ideas have influenced other thinkers. The group will be challenged to take a stand in the discussion and develop a response towards these rapidly emerging global issues.
Norway has a very special position in Europe at the moment. Due to its wealth there is not the same urgency to rethink the value system like there is in other European countries or the United States at the moment. Its wealth if not its welfare system seems to be secured for another few generations to come. How does this particular situation affect the way Norwegians think about Norway´s role in the global economy, not to say the global environment, as the Norwegian economy is heavily dependent on oil as a commodity?
The workshop is an extension of the seminar Visions: Upheavals and Unpractical Ideas, which was organized by B-open and took place 23 October 2011. The seminar took the concept of visions – that of being visionary, foresighted, future thinking – as its point of departure, and set out to discuss to what degree contemporary artists relate to an imagined future. One of the initial ideas we wanted to discuss were whether it in our time, in this historical moment, is possible to make or to think something new and to escape the refrain that everything is already done. The seminar ended on another question, that of the possibility of visualizing the invisible realms of our societies, like the economy and the workings of the Market, which seems to be as ubiquitous as they are abstract. Are there ways for the layman to grasp and to act upon these levels of abstractions? And, taking the discussion to the field of contemporary, are there ways for artists to render such assumed invisible structures visible?
The workshop will be in the form of a seminar group limited to 15 registered participants, plus a panel discussion with historian Richard Sheldon, economist Ove Jakobsen and curator Charles Esche in the afternoon. The panel discussion will be open for the public.
Charles Esche (born 1962, England) is a curator and writer. Since 2004, he has been Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. He is co-founder and co-editor of Afterall Journal and Afterall Books with Mark Lewis. Afterall is a contemporary art publication which was first launched in 1998 and is based at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.
His main work has involved working on the constitution of art institutions, most recently the museum but also the qualities of the art centre or biennial. His writings on institutional possibility and policy are useful aids to rethinking the relation between art and social change.
Dr. Oecon. Ove Jakobsen is professor in ecological economics at Bodø Graduate School of Business (HHB). He is co-founder and leader of Centre for Ecological Economics and Ethics at HHB. Ove Jakobsen is Member of the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH). In addition to PhD in Economics from the Norwegian School of Economics, Jakobsen holds three master Degrees; in Philosophy, Marketing and Administration and Leadership.
In the year 2000, Jakobsen received the SAS and the Norwegian Economics Association prize for the best integration of environmental and societal responsibility in lectures at Norwegian Business Schools. His major research interests are ecological economics/circulation economics, Business ethics/CSR, Holistic science and Development based on sustainability, resilience and quality of life. He has published a number of scientific articles and books both nationally and internationally.
Lecturer in Social and Economic History at the Bristol University in the United Kingdom. Richard will introduce us to the ideas of Adam Smith and the revival of Smith's ideas since the 1970s and the social and political implications of these as well as reflecting on the post 2008 global economy.
Research interests: British history 1700-1860, especially the history of radicalism and protest movements. The comparative study of famines and famine relief c.1700 to the present; the history of social and economic thought.