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on money and collective dreams

FROM THE HISTORY OF MONEY & CORRUPTION, TO COOPS, DECENTRALIZATION & (ECO)NFTS

Can collective imagination and responsibility get us out of this (capitalist) mess? How can we create better systems than the ones we've inherited?

• 19. April - 21. June 2021
• Online!
• Ten-weeks, Mondays, 6-8PM CEST


Pricing (For tickets click here)
Artist / Student (Full Time)*
€225

Freelancer*
€255

Professional*
€285

Generous Supporter Ticket*
€315

Solidarity ticket*
Donation (Limited)


course
description

Money is a complicated topic to say the least. The stories we keep hearing in the news are that the rich are getting richer in the midst of crises and the poor always poorer; everything unfair about a society is starkly in view when we look at those who have money and those who don’t. But critique as we might, to truly design more egalitarian systems, we must first understand the current one.

This class aims to involve underrepresented groups* in the tech world in discussions and teaching about money in order to begin imagining more inclusive and cooperative economic models. As the second part of a growing series of classes on Tools for Reimagining Better Worlds Through Cooperation, this 10-week course will look at the history of money, corruption and money laundering, artist interventions, cooperatives models and decentralisation, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and (eco) nft, exploring each of these from all angles to see how they work both for and against us. With each week led by a different instructor, we hope to deliver a pluralised and textured perspective of the past, present and future of our financial landscapes.

With Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) permeating our twitter timelines almost out of nowhere, we are prompted to question whether these trendy adaptations of new-age currencies are a reflection of the capitalist economies we are trying to liberate ourselves from or part of the change we wish to see? What are the ethical concerns, the tools, and the practicalities? Do they deserve our trust? At the very least, they deserve healthy skepticism, a deeper inquiry, and diverse groups of people understanding how to use these tools. More than simply learning about NFT's and cryptocurrencies, we wish for more people to understand the context within which they, and by extension, we, exist. So we warmly invite you to take part in this collective exploration of the ins and outs of money and the greater implications that these systems have on humans and nature.

Through collective learning, researching and knowledge sharing we aim to contribute to something greater than ourselves, alongside others who are ready to question everything about how we got here and where we go next. This is a 10-week course but we encourage that the work and collectivity continue beyond it. What happens when we jump off this merry-go-round all together to try and find a better way?

*This class is intended especially for people underrepresented in the tech world, including womxn, BIPOC*, LGBTQ+ folks and others. As powerless as we can often feel, this is our way of attempting to change the narrative of inequality in the here and now. We are coming together explicitly in support of anti-racism, intersectional feminism, and exploring alternatives to the exploitation of capitalism. We are interested in working with those of you who share these goals.


in this course,
you will be
introduced to

  • General history of money and economies
  • Overview of worldwide monetary systems
  • Practical knowledge of money laundering, tax evasion, debt, how people "beat" the system
  • Working vocabulary of capitalism and related systems
  • Cooperative systems and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO's)
  • Finance hacking and interventions
  • Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, their functions in real life and as creative practice
  • Art speculation
  • Explanation of Proof of Work, Proof of Stake, and practicalities of using (Eco)NFT's
  • An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators

course outline

Week 1: Introductions

This first class is about getting to know each other and who's in the room. What are your experiences around money that have brought you to this course? What are your hopes for learning and participation? After the break, we’ll introduce the course itself and discuss possible outcomes. Finally, we'll get into small conversation groups and connect with each other on the past and present of money to find out for all of us, what seems to matter most.

Week 2: History of Money, Marxism and Capitalism

In week two we'll dive in to the history of money and compare the finer points of marxism to capitalism in a way that anyone unfamiliar with these terms and practices can easily understand. A main take-away here is that capitalism is not only an economic system but also a social, political, historical and class system. What has this meant for humans and societies in the past and present and what will the future look like if this continues?

Week 3: Corruption

This week we explore corruption. We'll take a closer look at money laundering, tax evasion and corruption and how systems have been built to allow these things to happen. What do these things look like in practice, where does it happen, who are the perpetrators? We'll break it down and discuss the inevitable impacts on humans and society.

Week 4: Cooperatives

This week, we'll take a look at alternative organisational and business models and get into what it means to work in cooperative systems. We'll also look at the notion of platform cooperativism (as opposed to platform capitalism), and the rise of horizontal organizational structures where collective financial decision making is emerging as a new norm and the idea of re-inventing the commons as a way for creating livelihood for everybody.

Week 5: Artistic Intervention I

In week 5, we'll hear about and be inspired by artistic interventions in the realm of money and finance. More info to come.

Week 6: Decentralising Power and Resources in the Art World

DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab is a Furtherfield initiative that exists to mobilise crowdsourced research and development by leading artists, using blockchain and web 3.0 technologies for fairer, more dynamic and connected cultural ecologies and economies. Ruth Catlow will show how experimental art projects are engaging critically with blockchain technologies to move beyond financial speculation to build transnational cooperative infrastructures, decentralised artforms and practices, and improved systems literacy to playfully address and redress centralisation of power and resources in the artworld.

Addressing governance and money DECAL projects act as powerful provocations, asking who gets to determine the art that gets seen, the histories of art that get written, to shape art's narratives and control its value in society. At the same time, they demonstrate the value that experimental contemporary art offers, providing and testing strong use cases for blockchain technology and organizational practice.

Week 7: Artistic Intervention II

This week, we'll hear about and be inspired by another approach to art, activism, and artistic intervention in the realm of money and finance. More info to come.

Week 8: Cryptocurrency

This week, we'll focus on cryptocurrency. What is it, what is its history, and why does it matter? We'll discuss the differences between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake and also learn about the practicalities of getting started in crypto and things to consider in terms of account setup, privacy, security, etc.

Week 9: EcoNFT

This week, we'll discuss cryptoart and NFT's. What are they, what is the history, and why does it matter? We'll also look at the practicalities of setting up an account on the EcoNFT platform hicetnunc. For anyone interested and lacking confidence or the technical know-how, we will help get you started.

Week 10: Final showcase of works and discussion

In this final week we'll take a look back at all that has been considered and created! Participants are welcome to dream up interventions to be presented in this final class, and in general share any experiences and thoughts about all that we've learned and where to go from here.


Note: We're still awaiting some instructor/date confirmations. Information above may be updated. More soon.


who is this
class 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 use current tools and collective imagination to design better prospects for the future. Artists, researchers, organisers, journalists, creatives, and people of all kinds seeking deeper knowledge are all welcome to join. Please be ready to contribute to the discussions and collective pool of knowledge. No one person can know everything. We need each other. No previous experience necessary.

As mentioned above, this class is intended especially for people underrepresented in the tech world including womxn, BIPOC*, LGBTQ+ and others. This is meant to be a very open while also being narrow. Do you look at the movers and shakers of the tech world and feel represented? If you come from an oft unrepresented and underappreciated culture/background, please feel invited to join us!

*Note: An interesting discussion recently brought out the idea that many people we wish to support don’t necessarily see themselves as people of color or underrepresented and that these terms, to a large extent, are western cultural identifiers. If you are interested in participating but unsure if you fit the target group, please get in touch and let’s discuss! To the extent that you are comfortable, and with the best of intentions, we may ask you to please explain why you are eligible for this class. Thank you for your understanding.


about live classes

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.


about fees

We realise we're living in uncertain times. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. These are reserved for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode and we ask you to consider this when making your donation.

Note: Due to the fact that we are receiving way more requests for Solidarity tickets than we can accommodate, we ask that after you have taken 3 that you please purchase a regular ticket in order to make them available to other people. Also, please note that we may send a follow-up email asking you to confirm your eligibility for these tickets. We are trying to make our classes accessible to as many people as possible and greatly appreciate your understanding and support.


about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options. We kindly ask that all “pay-what-you-can” students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.