TEXT OF THE LECTURE by ARLETTE VAN LAAR
Oct.20th Yerevan Armenia
Homo Ludens & the Art of Turning Art into Money (and vice versa)
The first time this term was used, dates from 1938 in the cultural science work of Johan Huizinga ‘s book with the title Homo Ludens.
His work is about the element of playing in culture and society, in wich the game (spel) is a nessesary condition to give birth to culture. Huizinga presumes that game is older than culture, because animals do also play, and they did not wait for us humans to do so.
The game is more than a physical act, it is beyond the limitations of biologic or physical activity. Every game means something and has a useful function. That stands aside from the immediate urge to preserve life. There are a lot of reasons to play, the most important ones are:
– The relief of an overabundance of vitality.
– While playing the human being obeys to the instinctive urge to imitate.
– The game satisfies the need to relax.
– It is a pre-practise for the serious activities that life is asking of us.
– The game is a practise in self controle.
– An urge to make competition or to overrule.
– An innocent relief of harmful drives
– A required supplement for an activity that is quite monotonous.
– An enforcement of the ego, as means of satisfaction for the unfullfilled wishes in our every day reality.
The game is a reality that stands on its own. Almost all abstractions we are able to define, like: beauty, truth, kindness, spirituality, God, seriousness. But what precisely a game is, we can hardly define. The game reflects constantly the highest sense of logic and the character of our situation in the cosmos. The game is complementary to seriousness and is above all a free activity born out of desire. The game stands apart from our everyday life in durance and location. The game can always be repeated, think of sports, dance and theater. Once the game is played it will be a spiritual treasure in the memory, and will stay surrendered and fixated in a culteral form. It has rhythm and harmony and connects, facinates and liberates.
Constant Nieuwenhuis, a dutch painter from the Cobra group was inspired by the Homo Ludens, after reading Huizinga’s book and came with the idea of an utopic city New Babylon. A city in wich the people are liberated from physical work and where there is room for develloping creativity. He worked almost 20 years on it and made many different models. The idea was more a design of a new culture.
Nowadays this idea has increased popularity dued to the worldwide economical and climate crisis.People don’t want to believe that money is the only value in life. They don’t trust the bankers anymore and have very little faith in politicians. The gap between poor and rich is growing very fast and people have no confidence that life becomes automatically better after a while. The middle class is stucked in an consumers society with no money to consume. There is a growing ache for solutions from buttom up.
The United Transnational Republics
Identities are the backbone of every democratic system.
In order to enable a democratic system on the global level, we need identities that are not managed by nation states or corporations.
The United Transnational Republics (UTNR) is such an example and is the first known “3GO”: a Global Governmental Grassroots Organisation working towards the democratisation of the globalised world we find ourselves in.
In this system all citizens of the world will be represented by their Transnational Republic of choice; together, the various Transnational Republics are forming The United Transnational Republics, where they are representing their citizens’ transnational interests – just as the various nation-states are assembling into The United Nations representing national interest.
Obviously, there is no democratic representation of the individual on a transnational, global level. This leads to inherently undemocratic processes within globalisation. Currently, outside of the nation-states only consumer and national interests are being represented. Unfortunately, both our national as well as our consumer interests are in conflict with our global interest: the preservation of our environment, world peace, establishment of transnational legislation etc…
The dollar became world key currency some 65 years ago. To be precise: during the night of July 13th and 14th, 1944.
For it was during that night that the US, and even today this fact is still hardly known, clandestinely changed the wording in the documents of the Bretton Woods conference. When the conference members – stemming from 44 nations – finally signed the Agreement, they had no clue, that the US had amended the word “gold” with “and US-dollar”.
It was in this manner – which the UK later described as “pure deception” – that the US-dollar became the world key currency and the US a superpower. This deception is more than just tragic: for without it the current crisis could not have developed, since the enormous disequilibrium between the US and the rest of the world which has lead into this crisis was only possible due to the special role of the US-dollar.
Today, it is foreseeable that the US-dollar will lose its role as world key currency. But the real question is: what is to follow?
We should not leave that question to the financial industry or the powerful nations. We, the civil society, have to get involved. For the future financial and economic order will determine, whether we will be able to solve the problems of the future.
We can only join the discussion, if we know.
How does the homo ludens compare to the homo economicus?
The homo economicus is playing with money with his main goal to overrule others and to have more apperance. He shows of with his possessions to make sure he is an succesful and therefore better humanbeing. He is a materialist and only plays to have more and achieve more power.
The homo ludens plays for the sake of playing. He believes in collectivity and the mutal responsibility for their envoironment they live in. By playing, experimentating and discovering will be advanced, because homo ludens are not searching for anything, they just find, while playing and having fun.
They believe personal growth is the most important and while playing with others they stimulate eachothers growing proces. The game of the homo economicus has financial profit as main goal, while for the homo ludens is financial break-even enough, the aim is social benefit. The homo economicus is owning the city and drive away the playing not commercial humanbeing. But who is making the society richer?
Daniel Rozenberg – our dutch friend and international iconografic artist works under the name Dadara . He is a good example of a homo ludens. With his latest project Exchanghibitionbank ,The Art of Turning Art into Money.
During today’s financial crisis, art has been frequently cited as an advantageous alternative asset class. But do the millions of dollars that might buy you a Koons or a Picasso speak about the social artistic and spiritual value?
Do you want to buy art as an artifact of beauty and spirituality or as a financial investment? Money has always invested in art, though in an admiring, even worshipping way, since it respected art as its superior, something, which can’t be measured by financial values. But today’s hyper-investment in art seems to be an implicit attempt to overwhelm it demonstrating in this way that money is superior to art.
The Art of Turning Art into Money Project will explore the connection between money and art. Where do those two worlds meet? And where do they clash? Covering the full spectrum, from pure art, which uses money purely as its subject, all the way to money, which uses art merely as a vehicle to generate even more money. Dadara told us about the way his work interact in the society. He said:
‘”Last Sunday we brought the Exchanghibition Bank to the main hall in the Central Station Amsterdam. Including our personal bankers in their specially designed suits and of course our own security and gave the public the opportunity to exchange their euros into bills of Zero or One Million. Also on the website of the Exchangebitionbank bills of zero, infinite and a million are for sale. The million bill is the cheapest you can buy for E2,50.On the zero bill you can find a very small letters the text from Oscar Wilde: “When bankers get together for dinner they discuss Art, when artist get together for dinner they discuss money.”’
Swantje Lichtenstein (Germany), added on Oct. 20th the following lines from Ezra Pound’s Vorticist Manifesto:
The Vorticist Manifesto – as listed by Ezra Pound:
1. Beyond Action and Reaction we would establish ourselves.
2. We start from opposite statements of a chosen world. Set up violent structure of adolescent clearness between two extremes.
3. We discharge ourselves on both sides.
4. We fight first on one side, then on the other, but always for the SAME cause, which is neither side or both sides and ours.
5. Mercenaries were always the best troops.
6. We are primitive Mercenaries in the Modern World.
7. Our Cause is NO-MAN’S.
8. We set Humour at Humour’s throat. Stir up Civil War among peaceful apes.
9. We only want Humour if it has fought like Tragedy.
10. We only want Tragedy if it can clench its side-muscles like hands on its belly, and bring to the surface a laugh like a bomb.
are we vorticists then. maybe? !