‘Statements of Profits and Loss / Rates of Exchange’ Art Laboratory Berlin

In June we presented ‘Statements of Profits and Loss’ at Art Laboratory Berlin. The exhibition showcased three Notgeld designs, documenting exchanges of honey – for various things – that took place last year between Oliver Rudzick and Lucinda Dayhew, Bärbel Rothhaar and Valentina Karga, and Jana Schroeder and Biljana Pais. The Notgeld are produced in editions of three: one gifted to each participant in the exchange, and one for the bees. Theirs were mounted inside a frame that would usually hold wax comb, ready to drop into a hive, and loaned to us for the exhibition.

Also on display was… material relating to our research, including a selection of historic Notgeld, books, a lump of coal, artefacts documenting barter economies in Germany and other paraphernalia relating to beekeeping and share networks currently operating in Berlin.

Leaning against one wall was a bicycle we had procured from a local bicycle share network, bikesurf berlin. Fitted out with a portable cooker, pans and utensils, this assemblage marked the presence of die Stillewald Küche, a speculative mobile kitchen serving food from a future in which there are no more bees, ie. cooking only with ingredients not requiring pollination by bees. This was also a functional prop for an (as yet) unrealised performance work, ‘Wake in Flight’, a memorial ceremony for departed bees to be held in an overgrown cemetery.

On the final day of the exhibition we hosted ‘Rates of Exchange–A Discursive Sonntagsbrunch’, a brunch-conversation about reciprocity and relations in the multispecies city, during which participants made notes on a large paper map on the table, in exchange for an extravagant meal made using only ingredients that are pollinated by bees (coffee, berries, chestnut lemon curd tart, buckwheat tomato tart, summer berry tarts…). On one end of the map was ‘bee ecologies’, and on the other ‘economic systems’. Together we attempted to address such questions as: what promising new modes of exchange could offer a way out of current crises in these two areas? What are the limits of exchange? How can value be measured differently?

Guests included Heinz Risse, the beekeeper at Prinzessinnengarten, and the artist and beekeeper Bärbel Rothhaar. The meal began with a glass of tap water and a humble dish of oatcakes and mushrooms provided by die Stillwald Küche … as the conversation proceeded, pots of tea and coffee were introduced until we eventually removed the glass coverings to partake in the all the bee-assisted delights. The meal concluded with a smoothie cocktail of honey, fruits and milk, downed with a spontaneously coined salutation to the bees—Gesummmtheit!

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Photo: Tim Deussen

Deussen_RatesOfEx-Barbel

10. August 2015 by sumugan
Categories: Events, Research notes | Leave a comment

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