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New ways of TRADING

Event took place at Islington Mill's

Unit 2, 25th October 2022.

Through participatory performances new func seeks to TRADE in ways that make us FEEL ALIVE. Trade is the basis of community – the primal reason we need each other – but as it becomes ever more abstract, we detach from the physical act of trading and lose the truth of value.  In Auctions of Desire, Equitable Owning, The Bank of BEING ALIVE and more, we will commune through trade, exploring the potential of exchanging objects and actions - the potential of exchanging energy - to deepen our connection to self, other and environment, and redefine what and how we value.

*Filmed by Miroslav Andjelkovic.


Value in Value of Value

Our unit of currency stands , a giant cardboard monolith, erected in the middle of the space. The Auctioneer explains that this object has no ‘use value’. It is made solely to be exchanged, possessed and possess. Participants are split into 2/3 groups and must take actions to possess and exchange and be possessed by the monolith. Through these acts we hope to find joy and connection in the act of trade for the sake of itself. 


Equitable Holding/Owning/Trading


Together, without words, we hold and direct the ownership and use of the object – from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.  Sharing the space, unable to move without the other, sharing control over use and ownership and exchange, the groups explore ways we can decide together.


Energy Bank


We are now in the ENERGY BANK, and introduces it’s 3 principals: 1. ENERGY is the measure of all things, and humanity is the measurer of ENERGY. 2. The purpose of the bank is to value BEING ALIVE. 3. It does this by measuring the value of an act or possession according to the ENERGY it holds within the bank’s 5 values: TRUTH, NECCESITY, EMBODIMENT + TRANSCENDENCE, GOODNESS, and BEAUTY.

The Scales of Value for each of the 5 values are written on A0 sheets which are taped to the wall.  

As the audience stand at the perimeter, 6 measuring-stick-people (with numbers 0,2,4,6,8,10 taped to their back) move around the object being valued. They move and chant in accord with the value under consideration, eg. crawling around frantically muttering NECESSITY.

The average value of the object is then calculated in Energy Units, and the audience asked if anyone would like to exchange their Energy for the object. If there are no volunteers Tam will demonstrate an action he sees as equal to the object’s energy or take on the energy debt.  

Exchanging Consent

The Auctioneer will bang the gong, the alien object will be moved aside and cheap supermarket items (a carrot, hairbrush, toothpaste,..) will be scattered around the room. The Auctioneer will explain that, without words, participants must continually do something to exchange, or exchange to do something, until the gong bangs again. They may trade anything they like, act for object, act for act, object for object, energy for energy… but this trade must be consented to, non-verbally, by both parties, eg. I stick out my tongue, you snap off half a carrot and place it in my palm. I accept by walking away with the carrot and trading with somebody else. I reject by gesture. Through this constant interactional valuing and exchanging we come to understand and respect the values of others. 

Auction of Desire

The Auctioneer will invite participants to wander through the assortment of potentially multi-functional items spread around room, whilst whispering the chant of “say-ull, say-ull,..” before forming a ring around the perimeter. As all continue the whispered chant, the Auctioneer introduces “Lot 1” and asks contenders to step forth to express their desire/use/need of item. The chant becomes louder as the audience grow restless, becoming loudest when they decide upon the winner of the lot (the contender judged to have the greatest desire/use/need) by circling and chanting around them. The Auctioneer bangs the gong and introduces the next lot.

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