To appropriate the historic transformations of human nature that capitalism wants to limit to the spectacle, to link together image and body in a space where they can no longer be separated, and thus to forge the whatever body, whose physis is resemblance — this is the good that humanity must learn to wrest from commodities in their decline.
“The Coming Community”, 1990
Arcades Project, started in 2011, is a curated, one-night event for the exhibition and sales of limited edition works produced by small and independent presses, artists, and other creative practitioners (art books, book arts, prints, image and text works, artist multiples). Arcades also hosts workshops, performances, screenings, and readings. Arcades, although an opportunity to sell work, is an event that hopes to subvert the expected context of commerce by switching themes and locations every year. This May will be the fourth incarnation of the Arcades Project– an event that wears many guises, at once a museum, a mall, a swap shop, a school, a pub, & a party.
The acronym, TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”), was originally born in critique of the “Free Lunch” business practice of 19th century American saloons in which overly salty foods were served for free: tricking sated but parched participants to pay for beer in order to quench their thirst. The lunch is in fact not free in this scenario, but represents a manipulative advertising tactic that obfuscates a fundamental want for an open and honest exchange of goods.
These aphorisms* exist to demonstrate a need for a balanced economy that encourages generosity and transparency, where cost correlates to value. Only in a balanced economy does the desire to get something for “free” dissipate. The cutthroat mentality of free-market capitalism pushes people to take what they can get. Let’s invest in what we want! The exchange of currency implies a contract, the value of which we as participants decide upon, and on which is built a community. If people, things, and environments are compensated adequately for their work the practice of commerce can be one based in gratitude, as opposed to one built in a competitive model of greed and scarcity. In the end, a better sandwich.
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