MoneyLab - image by Mean Productions
Talks and workshops
Somerset House Studios

MoneyLab: Art, Culture and Financial Activism

Sat 20 Jan 2018
10.00 - 18.00
Full day £15.00 / £12.00 conc
River Rooms
New Wing

A day-long programme of workshops, discussions and artistic experimentation exploring the relationship between financial technologies, artistic practice and contemporary culture.

MoneyLab is a programme of critical research and artistic intervention that explores the connections between contemporary art, financial activism and digital culture. Previously organised by the Amsterdam-based Institute of Network Cultures, this fourth edition of MoneyLab brings together researchers, artists, designers, and cultural entrepreneurs thinking beyond money. Join panels, talks and workshops which inspect the borderlands between critical art-making, decentralised financial technologies, collective organisation, and civil disobedience.



With Geert Lovink from Institute of Network Cultures and Martin Zeilinger from Anglia Ruskin University introducing some of the themes and ideas of Moneylab


Offshore Investigation Vehicle with
The Demystification Committee
Half of the existing global wealth has been calculated to be located offshore, stacked in tax havens. But where is offshore? What does it mean to ‘go’ or ‘become’ offshore? Can we visit it? The Demystification Committee have infiltrated a number of tax havens and set up an international corporate structure to investigate offshore finance. At the head of this corporate structure is Empire Management Limited, a UK Private Limited Company that invites members of the public to become investors in their self-initiated offshore tax avoidance scheme. Join in and explore the tactics Empire Management use to abuse its financial position offshore and find out about the murky world of offshore investment practices.

Total Liquidity Now: Trading in the augmented landscape of Patternist
PATTERNIST is a location-based, augmented reality demo game for urban research, sci-fi visions, and alternative economies. It speculates on the appearance of an alien planet hovering above our own, whose augmented terrain becomes visible through the lens of a mobile and desktop game.

As part of this workshop participants are invited to develop the game’s trading mechanisms through role play and participatory exercises. Facilitating and experimenting with a multi-directional, barter-based trading system, the group will explore the alien geography of the PATTERNIST-3 planet. The workshop will close with a discussion on designing incentives in alternative economies, autonomous currencies, and market-based decision making.

(Please note a smartphone with IOS or android is required to take part in some of this activity).


Playing to Lose: Gameplay in Art and Finance

Artists are increasingly adopting game design as a methodology to interrogate and subvert complex financial and political systems. From simulations of fictional companies to live action role play games, a diverse range of situated methods are emerging to expose social and political infrastructures. This discussion will explore to what effects gamification and digital simulation are useful for organising socio-political activism. Is responsible, community-oriented life in contemporary society a ‘skill’ that can be learned in a game-like environment? If the performance of financial investments can be simulated, can we also simulate the disruption of capitalist systems? How can such simulation become reality?

Chaired by journalist and campaigner Brett Scott with games designer Andy Morales Coto developer Kei Kreutler, researcher Stephanie Polsky, and The Demystification Committee.



Earth’s Cooperative for Economic Fairness with FairCoop
FairCoop will present the world’s first democratically organised and eco-friendly crypto-currency, FairCoin. The latest FairCoin uses a co-operative model for distributing crypto-currencies and aims to create a digital currency for a new global economic system. Workshop participants will learn about the development of FairCoin, from the technical elements to the political and social motivations of creating an energy saving and cooperative blockchain. Find out how to setup a FairCoop in your region and how you could join a decentralized network to reduce economic inequality and create a global wealth of abundance for the commons.  

Data Workers Union with Institute of Human Obsolescence
In order to shift the imbalance between citizens,surveillance capitalism, and the big data industry, it should be understand that we are not merely users of free online services, but the unpaid workers of tech companies.The Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) advocates for recognising the production of data as a form of labour.Through gatherings, assemblies and collective actions the union aims to establish a collective political discourse in pursuit of our data labour rights. This workshop will explore some of the issues that arise from organising a labour union for digital users and demonstrate the possibilities for monetizing online activity.


Art and Equity? Tokenizing Culture with the Blockchain
Artists are playing a central role in shaping our understanding of emerging blockchain technologies, and continue to propose exciting visions for how decentralized computation could challenge current social and political power structures. Already, there are a few experimental blockchain projects that question our core assumptions about ownership, authorship, reproducibility, and authenticity. This panel introduces artistic perspectives on distributed ledger technologies, and brings them into critical dialogue with the emerging blockchain economies. From platform distribution models and new types of digital art markets to hyper-real click-mine farms and self-owning artworks, what can we learn about emerging blockchain technologies from critical artistic practice?

Chaired by artist and curator Ruth Catlow, with panellists including art advisor and art historian Jérôme Croisier, researcher and curator Rachel O'Dwyerartist/software engineer Sarah Friend and Somerset House Studios artist Marija Bozinovska Jones.



2nd MoneyLab Reader Book Launch with The Institute of Network Cultures
Concluding the day, this session introduced by Inte Gloerich platforms contributors to this latest publication from the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam and features a collection of essays from artists, academics and activists critically exploring art, finance and technology. This second edition expands on a global network committed to exploring the political and social territories created since the financial crash was inscribed onto the first bitcoin block in 2009. Essays range from the financialization of art, love as a binary proposition on the blockchain, the cashless society, the history of your financial dashboard, and the digital financial surveillance of the poor. Join us to celebrate the launch of the book and listen to a handful of readings from some of the many contributors including Geert Lovink, artist/writer/educator Emily Rosamond and researcher Nathaniel Tkacz.

This event is co-curated by Somerset House Studios, the Institute of Network Cultures, and Anglia Ruskin University.

For more information and details from previous events please visit

Institute of Network Cultures
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