School of machines, making & make–believe

How can we critically examine the increasing financialisation of our lives? How will this impact the way we'll live and work together in the future? How can we create better systems than the ones we've inherited?

  • / 5. August - 30. August 2019

  • / Four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany

  • / Small class of paricipants

  • / Based in ACUD


Course Description

This program is about money! Whether we have it or not, money rules the world, or so it seems. In recent years, technologies like cryptocurrency, bitcoin, and blockchain have come to the fore offering alternatives to the current system but we need to know more! What’s the history of economies and money, what are the current financial systems that plague us, how does money laundering and tax evasion work, how might we create new systems and alternatives that can help bring about justice and level the playing field? This program is an attempt to create a progressive curriculum for financial literacy, for everyone!

Together we'll talk about the myths and realities of socio-cultural patterns such as barter, value exchange systems, gift economies and the peculiar relation of money & moral. We'll also trace the history of money and credit and understand their associations with societal changes while exploring different notions of value creation and value accounting in societies worldwide.

Taking the recent financial crisis 2007-2008 as a starting point for the rise of a finance-counterculture, we'll look at: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the notion of platform cooperativism (as opposed to platform capitalism), and the rise of horizontal organizational structures where collective financial decisionmaking is emerging as a new norm and the idea of re-inventing the commons as a way for creating livelihood for everybody.

The class will include playful yet earnest experiments in financial co-creation: we will work on concepts and prototypes for basic income, token systems, and community currencies.

This class aims at providing a solid understanding of money and finance, in relation to different political and social systems. Students will learn about the emergence of markets, credit, debt, and corruption as we seek to stimulate everyone’s imagination of how a fair, inclusive economy might become a reality.


  • Artist / Student (Full Time)*

  • Women and persons from LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities in the tech field highly encouraged to apply!

    *Includes in-class materials, use of space, and professional mentorship

    Note: If you'd like any assistance in finding housing, please let us know in your application. We suggest budgeting around €525 for a month room rental.

In this course, you will learn

- General history of money and economies
- Current state of worldwide financial systems
- Practical knowledge of money laundering, tax evasion, debt
- Working vocabulary of finance
- Inner workings of blockchain and crypotocurrencies
- An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators
**No previous experience necessary**

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions, from history of economy, money, to current state of things, vocabulary of finance

Week 2: Hacking finance, money laundering, tax evasion, interventions, how people "beat" the system

Week 3: Blockchain, cryptocurrency, their functions in real life and as creative practice

Week 4: Documentation of program, booksprint, preparing for final showcase open to the public.

Who is this program for?

This program is for anyone interested in understanding the history of money, how it has evolved, where it is today and how we can imagine it in the future. Artists, researchers, and creative people of all kinds seeking deeper knowledge are all welcome to apply.



  • Laura Ranca/

    Laura is a project coordinator with Tactical Tech’s Exposing the Invisible project. Before joining Tactical Tech in January 2018, she worked for two years as a program specialist with the investigative journalism portfolio of the Independent Journalism Program at Open Society Foundation in London. Prior to that, she was a reporter and researcher with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and with RISE Project - a community of investigative journalists, developers and activists in Romania.

    At RISE, among others, she coordinated the development of Visual Investigative Scenarios (VIS), a data visualization platform, which assists investigative journalists, activists and researchers in mapping complex organised crime networks. Earlier on, Laura also worked as a public information officer with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and as a program coordinator and reporter with the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

  • Ela Kagel/

    Digital strategist Ela Kagel specialises in the intersection of society, technology and economy. Since the 1990s she has been working as curator and program advisor for major art & tech festivals such as Transmediale, Republica, Ars Electronica, Future Everything and many more. Ela is founder of the Free Culture Incubator, and co-founded Public Art Lab Berlin and SUPERMARKT, a collaborative economy project space in Berlin. Central to Ela’s practice is working with communities all over Europe. Over the past years, she has been extensively researching and advocating for the digital commons. As part of her ongoing collaboration with the Platform coop consortium Ela is also co-hosting the Platform Coop meetups in Berlin.

    Since 2018, Ela is board member of the technology cooperative RChain Europe.

  • Paolo Cirio/

    Paolo Cirio works with legal, economic, and cultural systems of the information society. He investigates social fields impacted by the Internet, such as privacy, democracy, copyright, and finance. He shows his research and intervention-based works through artifacts, photos, installations, videos, and public art.

    Cirio has exhibited in international museums and has won prestigious art awards. His artworks have been covered by hundreds of media outlets worldwide and he regularly gives public lectures and workshops at leading universities.

  • Luce Goutelle/

    Luce Goutelle is a theater director, curator and independent researcher. She works on the transformation of the social and economic structures of our society. Bordering on art, journalism and social science, her projects take the form of mysterious events, shows, stories, investigations and underground experiments in contexts as varied as the heights of a business tower, the reception of a hotel, the boards of a theater, a fountain of a park, a cafe, hair salon or a luxury yacht. She co-founded the company Loop-s in 2015 and the creative lab Unbewitch Finance in 2017.