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In the Aftermath of the Transformation of Capital

Ex-Zollamt / Halle

20.09. — 01.12.13

Curators: Katerina Gregos & Luigi Fassi 

Participating artists: Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck & Media Farzin | Eric Baudelaire | James Beckett | Alain Bornain | Danilo Correale | Marianne Flotron | Zachary Formwalt | Alexandros Georgiou | Goldin+Senneby | Núria Güell | Jan Peter Hammer | David Harvey | Kennedy Browne | Gustav Metzger | Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkacova | Oliver Ressler | Salinas & Bergman | Visible Solutions | Wooloo 

Five years after the outbreak of the biggest post-war financial and economic crisis, have we really learned anything? Have we understood the pathologies that can be unleashed by an alliance of liberal democracy and market economy that we came to consider as part of the natural order and without alternative? Have we really understood the financial turn, with all its consequences, its devastating effects for the global economy, but also for democracy and human rights, that dramatic shift from tangible to virtual capital, in which assets, concrete and abstract alike, are created and destroyed in fractions of a second? 

Understanding the mechanics of capitalism today has become an increasingly complex task given that it has morphed into forms that are increasingly intangible and immaterial. Money, finance and economics have thus become such abstract, opaque concepts that only a few people can understand them fully. The very concept of the notion of money has changed from being an operative aspect of the economy to something able to justify an increasingly speculative economy where money is being harnessed to produce more money; where money is increasingly being made out of immaterial goods and services, out of itself, out of the bare life of human beings, even out of thin air, it would seem. 

The exhibition Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of the Transformation of Capital explored the changes incurred to the financial system and presented a range of international artists who are engaged in exploring the shifting, viral nature of capitalism. It aimed to light on the opacity of finance, the current non-transparency of money, and the causes and practices that lie behind financial crises in the present time. Ranging from time-based practices to sculpture and installations, the works on view—a large part of them especially commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst—brought to the fore the dramatic changes that the entanglements of finance, speculation and politics have been enacting on the social body, affecting both bios and anthropos and simultaneously raising issues about the ethics of capitalism and current financial practices. 

The catalogue Liquid Assets (Mousse Publishing), with texts by Katerina Gregos, Luigi Fassi, Christian Marazzi and contributions by all participating artists, was published on September 20.

“Liaisons dangereuses: Alliances, misalliances and false friends,” the leitmotif of the 2013 steirischer herbst festival, looked at connections, relationships and their transformation—in society, art and culture and in both the private sphere and in politics. The complete programme of the festival—further exhibitions, created in co-operation with partner institutions, performances, workshops, lectures et al.—can be found on

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