Don’t Hate the Business, Become the Business!

Panel, ISEA Istanbul, Monday, 19 September, 2011 – 09:00 – 10:30
Sabaci University, Sabaci Center, Room 3, Istanbul, Turkey

The panel investigates some of the interconnections between art, activism and business. “Don’t hate the media, become the media”, was one of the slogans of Indymedia. We are applying this critical hands-on perspective to the business framework.

The panel investigates some of the interconnections between art, activism and business. “Don’t hate the media, become the media”, was one of the slogans of Indymedia. We are applying this critical hands-on perspective to the business framework. Presenters examine how artists, rather than refusing the market, are producing critical interventions from within. As the distinction between production and consumption appears to have collapsed, every interaction in the info-sphere seems to have become a business opportunity. Therefore, the creative intersections between business and art become a crucial territory for re-invention and the rewriting of symbolic and cultural codes, generating political actions or social hacks that use a deep level of irony, but also unexpected consequences. The tactics demonstrate the permeability of systems — that these can be reworked — and more so, that radical innovation requires modification of the prevailing business logic.

The backdrop of the Istanbul Biennale makes a useful reference point here as one of the markers along with art fairs in general for the commodity exchange of artistic production. We are not suggesting these are new issues — as there are many examples of artists making interventions into the art market and alternatives to commodity exchange — but we aim to discuss some of the recent strategies that have emerged from a deep understanding of the net economy and its markets.

The panel explores some of these contradictions: that on the one hand, there are alternative or disruptive business models that derive from the art scene, often as critical or activist interventions, but on the other how these practices can be easily co-opted by proprietary business logic. This is perhaps exemplified by the business idea of ‘disruption-innovation’, where disruption is considered to be a creative act that shifts the way a particular logic operates and thus presents newfound opportunities. Does this mean that well-meaning critical strategies of artists and activists are self-defeating? How do we develop disruptive business models that do not simply become new models for business that ultimately follow capitalist logic?

We maintain there is nothing wrong with doing business as such.

Chair: Tatiana Bazzichelli, Geoff Cox
Presenters: Christian Ulrik Andersen & Søren Bro Pold
Contributors: Dmytri Kleiner, Elanor Colleoni, Maya Balcioglu

The occasion is also thought as launch of the project DisruptivBiz, a platform of research on the topics of Disruptive Art and Business curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli and Geoff Cox.

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