ARTES in Porto
02.04 __ 29.04.2022
PHOTO Fábio Colaço
The group of works gathered in this exhibition point to a reflection on the change in the perception and value of money, as well as the unprecedented power that it has exerted on the human imagination from Antiquity to Contemporaneity.
From the appearance of the first coins in ancient Lydia (present-day Turkey) in the 7th century BC, to the development of paper money in China in 7 AD, to the establishment of banks during the Renaissance and, more recently, to the beginning of electronic money, the concept of money has changed over time. Money is losing its physicality and becoming even more abstract and immaterial, especially with the creation of cryptocurrency: a digital currency, in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the creation of currency units and verify the transfer funds, operating independently of a central bank.
Capitalism itself has diversified industrial production into the production of services, intangible forms and complex financial products. Terms such as 'Cognitive Capitalism' and 'Bio-Capitalism' have come to mean the accumulation of wealth through the exploitation of knowledge, as well as the human body and its faculties. At the same time, although Industrial Capitalism and Tangible Production have not eclipsed but are increasingly “disappearing”, Financial Capitalism – the production of money through money – has acquired a dominant position in the Global Economy. Money is being made out of thin air. Everything that was once solid now merges into the air. Successive financial deregulation (to facilitate private enterprise) allowed the power of money to grow with its quantity. Paradoxically, although money has become much less “tactile”, its power has grown exponentially, to the detriment of other values. Although some speak of the “tyranny of money”, money is a language that everyone understands and something that most people want. “Protect me from what I want” is a phrase by the American artist Jenny Holzer with an ambiguous meaning if we think about our relationship with money.
As Byung Chul-Han would say, we live in the era of psychopolitics, covered by the new techniques of power of Capitalism that influence psychic life, converting it into its main force of production. Contemporary monetary systems adapted to a neo-liberal capitalist system are today a deposit of gaps and between the lines.