Collective Economies, Alternative Flows: Presenting a Lecture by Fran Ilich
The work of media artist, activist, and writer Fran Ilich focuses on the creation of collective wealth and alternative financial flows, and inventing unorthodox ways to fund and maintain social infrastructures. His practice draws on ancient modes of exchange, and uses narrative and creative devices to forge organizational models that transform capitalist systems into solidarity platforms. Rather than reject existing financial tools and capitalist mechanisms, such as banks, bonds, hedge funds, and capital accumulation, he shuffles them around in such a way that they instead can foster community building enterprises and non-vertical economies.
In this lecture, held in the context of BAK’s recent multi-part program, Trainings For the Not-Yet (14 September 2019–12 January 2020), the artist introduces fascinating examples of experimental solidarity economies born through his collaborative work, and delves into their potential as practices against dispossession and as generators of radical uses of value. Describing how the work first was generated in response to the colonial implications of capitalist economic systems in Mexico, Ilich then outlines the birth and development of several of his projects, from Telenovelas as a medium for counter histories, to the Spacebank, a new kind of bank based on trust and collective labor, to the Diego de la Vega Coffee Coop, a collaboration between Zapatista communities in Mexico and service industry laborers in New York City.