Volatile Properties. A Modest Proposal revisited

Text contribution by Vermeir & Heiremans in the Special issue of the online journal Finance & Society on Volatility in finance, art, and culture, Vol 9 No 3 (2023). Editors: Emily Rosamond and Benjamin Lee.

This special issue unpacks existing debates on volatility in finance, art, and culture, suggesting several directions in which new work in this area might depart from existing frameworks. The issue focuses on three broad lines of exploration: rethinking the intellectual histories of volatility; rethinking volatility across disparate post-2008 contexts; and imagining volatile futures through art practice.

“Vermeir & Heiremans article investigates the ambitions of their video, A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box). The film, originally released in 2018, is a multi-layered work which revolves around a proposal to redeploy instruments of financialization to redistribute value to artists. Vermeir & Heiremans then consider the landscape that has emerged since their film was produced, in which cash-strapped art institutions have, indeed, tried to generate more liquidity from their illiquid assets, by selling NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of the masterpieces in their collection, for example. They explore the problems and potentials of blockchain, NFTs, DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) and DiSCOs (Distributed Cooperative Organizations), asking whether such tools might be repurposed to build “a solidarity economy by the mutual distribution of collectively generated values among all contributors”. Their text carefully considers the possibility that these technologies could both function as commoning tools or as apparatuses of extraction and enclosure.” (Excerpt from the introduction by Benjamin Lee & Emily Rosamond)

Read the paper ‘Volatile Properties. A Modest Proposal revisited’ here

The special issue also features an introduction on and a link to the film A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box) (2018)

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