I'll be moderating a panel on Wednesday evening composed of the six great MFA students of DIAP who organized the exhibition:
ECONOMY OF THE EPHEMERAL
An exhibition curated by MFA students of DIAP - Digital & Interdisciplinary Art Practice at The City College of New York (CCNY).
Christine Sun Kim
Reception // Tuesday May 7th 5:00 - 9:00
Panel Discussion: What Is the Economy of the Ephemeral? (Moderated by Joy Garnett) // Wednesday May 8th 6:00 - 7:30
Everything is happening in the DIAP Studio, aka Shepard 408 !
Art is eternal; economy is ephemeral
The “Economy of the Ephemeral” refers to a system of labor where outcomes are not translated into dollars, but instead are valuated in terms of the experiential. The fruits of such labor, expressed as sensory experiences or forms that are fluid and flexible, include outcomes that could lead, ideally, to cultural dialogue. If art is to be considered a type of labor, its value goes beyond the monetization of the object, drawing instead on its relevance in the realm of memory and history. While an object’s monetary value is determined by the fluctuating economics of the art market, its ephemeral value is decided by the uniquely human experience of the viewer.
Performance plays an important part in the economy of the ephemeral, whereas the term “economy” can be applied to any system of measured, result-driven performance. While that which is “ephemeral” is understood as something short-lived, unpredictable, and often hard to measure, its full impact may only be felt somewhere down the line. For example, a forgotten childhood memory or experience can live deep in the subconscious, only to re-emerge and trigger strong emotions later in life. Here, the economy of the ephemeral allows for a period of dormancy before the full power of an experience is felt and expressed.
In a world obsessed with the material, how do we value the not-solid and the unseen? Digital mediums and contemporary financial practices muddy the waters of material exchange--we monetize the future through derivatives, and attempt to quantify immaterial goods. How to assess the value of electrons, or the future? We want to muddy the waters of exchange even further by questioning the need to create monetary value in every facet of our lives. What if we reject capital as the system for determining value? And how do we create value that doesn't depend on capital?
The economy of the ephemeral describes the budgeting of intangible, organic, immeasurable performance. The work that comes under this rubric doesn’t beat you over the head with its intentions, but rather it acts like a time bomb: it ticks inside you, seeps in, marinates, and then explodes.
(Take the 1 train to 137th St City College and walk a few blocks east from Broadway.)