Installation view of Post-Capital: Art and the Economics of the Digital Age
Mudam – The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Post-Capital brings together works of sculpture, painting, photography, video and performance in an exhibition that seeks to address the subject of contemporary economics. Developed within a period of significant change and uncertainty, the exhibition takes as its starting point the inherent paradox within a capitalist system that is both dependent upon, and threatened by, technology. Presenting the work of 21 artists from 17 countries it will be installed in various spaces across three floors of the museum.
The exhibition’s title is adapted from Peter Drucker’s 1993 book, Post-Capitalist Society, which predicted that the impact of information technology on the labour market would be so great that it would ultimately lead to the fall of capitalism by 2020. Writing whilst the internet was still in its infancy (Luxembourg, for example, was connected in 1992), Drucker argued that in the future, knowledge, rather than capital, labour or land, would become the basis for wealth.
Today forms of labour, currency, commodities and the nature of consumption have been dramatically transformed by technologies that continue to evolve. Multinational information technology and e-commerce firms assume the highest ranks of global market capitalisation and data that is both abundant and infinitely replicable has become a valuable commodity that defies traditional economic principles based upon scarcity. The artworks in Post-Capital variously explore the paradoxes, absurdities and ethical questions posed by post-industrial and perhaps post-capital economies.
Shadi Habib Allah’s Dropping the 10th Digit draws on the artist’s relationships in the Miami neighborhood of Liberty City, where corner stores once flourished as some of the only local options to buy groceries. Changes to zoning laws, however, brought in big-box chains, and in order to survive, many of these businesses shifted their primary exchanges to gambling and illegal food stamp transactions. These series of photographs capture details of the hand-written receipts behind the counter, tracking individual customers’ records of debts and food stamps traded for cash.