The Trader House Rules (2012)

participatory Installation
University of Arts Berlin
12-15 July 2012

In Collaboration with Till Wittwer, Boaz Levin, Gian Luigi Scarpa
Lensbased class
The Trader House Rules was a 4-day event at the University of the Arts Berlin as a comment on the schools self-congratulatory open house event and used its exposure as a context for its participatory approach.

Designed by students of the lensbased class it was developed around the notion of the Potlatsch as a totalizing ritual representing the whole experience of art education in one event. Based on a cycle of a prestige based bartering-game it alternately hosted art auctions and interactive performances such as fitness workshops, karaoke, hypnosis, tattooing, hair cutting, a tea ceremony, a sermon a.o.

The role playing game translated a bartering game into a gift economy in art terms. Players were able to collect prestige points, that would grant them special privileges including delicatessen, access to cosmetics, haircuts and the profit generated by the art auctions. The game soon saw the hoarding of wealth in the hands of a few traders, who were in turn exposed on a stage. For 4 days we took the spectacle of the open house context for granted and instead of student work we presented the audience with the mirror of an education environment of incorporated neoliberal hyper-capitalism.

Performances by Robert Muldoon, Marina Epp, Persona Non Grata, Severin O'Hara, Johannes Bansmann, Nadja Rothenburger, Pastor Frank, Die, Heman Trust on Power Dust, DJ Tebatusasula

Download Rules Sheet

Documentation Photos by Boaz Levin and Emma Cossee