Pictured above is Item No. 12 from the entertainingly dystopian project by Hollington & Kyprianou , Adams & Smith, An Auction of Late Capitalist-Period Artefacts. Itâ€™s part of the last day of Platformâ€™s 100 Days series at the Arnolfini. [Hollington and Kyprianou, you may remember, took part in our Nuclear Forum last year when they discovered a neglected and hitherto unheard of nuclear facility in East London].
The artwork consists of an auction. That auction is set 25 years in the future, in 2034. Up for sale are 15 items that say something about the capitalist culture which collapsed, apparently spectacularly, in the years prior to the event. This is how the catalogue describes the pictured object:
Banking counter pen and holder
2008, 2013, 2019, 2021. Dates that every school child knows. The first three, huge tremors within the capitalist financial industry, the latter its final glorious collapse.
The system was definitely terminally ill before itâ€™s eventual enforced demise, but it was by direct action that it was put out of itâ€™s own, and our, misery. And what a misery.
Adams & Smith are delighted to offer this well preserved 21st century bank pen and holder, a slightly comical device that was nonetheless widely used for many years.
It would be found on the â€˜publicâ€™ counter within high street banks, enabling the â€˜customersâ€™ to fill out forms and provide a signature as a form of security.
What is most telling is that the base was fixed to the counter and the pen (joined by a chain) was fixed to the base, meaning that no customer could â€˜stealâ€™ the pen.
It in itâ€™s own way this letâ€™s us in to the very thought processes of this â€˜bankingâ€™ industry. The customers actually trusted the banks to look after their money, â€“ sometimes all the money they had.
And the bank? The bank didnâ€™t even trust the customer with a cheap plastic pen.
Also on sale: Smoke Detector, Double Buggy and Penalty Charge Notice. Paradoxically, for an auction that takes place in the post-capitalist era, it intends to create proceeds. They will be distributed among activists going to COP15.
See more about the event at Adams & Smith (est 2034) which takes place on Nov 28.
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology