Arnolifini’s 100 Days: a post-capitalist auction? Er…

Pictured above is Item No. 12 from the entertainingly dystopian project by Hollington & Kyprianou , Adams & Smith, An Auction of Late Capitalist-Period Artefacts. It’s part of the last day of Platform’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

Date: 2006

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 it’s eventual enforced demise, but it was by direct action that it was put out of it’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 ‘public’ counter within high street banks, enabling the ‘customers’ 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 ‘steal’ the pen.

It in it’s own way this let’s us in to the very thought processes of this ‘banking’ industry. The customers actually trusted the banks to look after their money, – sometimes all the money they had.

And the bank? The bank didn’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


PLATFORM: ‘C Words’ – 3 Oct-30 Nov
at Arnolfini’s ‘100 Days’ to Copenhagen – 29 Aug – 6 Dec

Marking the countdown to the 15th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 15), opening in Copenhagen on 7 December, the artist-activist group PLATFORM and their collaborators are presenting ‘C Words: carbon, climate, capital, culture. How did you get here and where are we going?’ from 3 October – 29 November at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol.

  • The PLATFORM events are the centrepiece to the Arnolfini Gallery’s 100 Days, from 29 August to 6 December, a season of exhibitions, performances, screenings and debate around issues of climate change, social justice and the relationship between art and activism.
C Words is a two-month investigation into carbon, climate, capital and culture. PLATFORM and their collaborators will hold over 25 events, installations, performances, actions, walks, courses, discussions and skills-sharing.

C Words cross-examines the present and looks to the next two decades. It investigates how everything from carbon offsets and transport, to racism and bank accounts play their part in the carbon web. How will culture be produced in a low ene rgy future? Can we imagine our way from here to there?

PLATFORM members will be in residence at Arnolfini throughout the project. The season will build towards a public departure to COP 15.

Seven new commissions are part of C Words:

  • Ackroyd & Harvey: The Walking Forest - In the spirit of slow travel, people are invited to bring a small tree or sapling to add to The Walking Forest, Ackroyd & Harvey’s Bristol time-based artwork.
  • African Writers Abroad: All Change! - African Writers Abroad (PEN) presents new commissioned work and workshops from poets Dorothea Smartt and Simon Murray on climate change and justice.
  • Hollington & Kyprianou with Spinwatch: Adams and Smith – Adams and Smith are auctioneers of late capitalist period artefacts, with provenance and history provided by Tamasin Cave and Spinwatch. Live auction included.
  • Institute for the Art & Practice of Dissent at Home’s Half-Term Holiday – Two adults and three children will set up a homemade activist cell to take action against Carbon, Climate Chaos and Capitalism. Join them for their half-term holiday.
  • Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination: Experiment Number 10 – This will involve building an irresistible weapon of creative resistance, which will be unleashed during the COP 15 summit.
  • Trapese Collective: Experiments against Enclosure – Tools to reclaim the Commons – The Trapese Collective present dayschools, film nights and an installation for your participation.
  • Virtual migrants: The Centre Cannot Hold – Multimedia installation, live dialogues and music performances explore the racial underpinnings of climate change, and the potential for a super-holocaust in the global south.
Also collaborating are Amelia’s Magazine, Art Not Oil, Carbon Trade Watch, The Corner House, Feral Trade, FERN, Greenpeace, Live Art Development Agency, new economics foundation & Clare Patey, Sustrans – Art & the Travelling Landscpae, Ultimate Holding Company and other artist and activist ‘co-realisers’.

Arnolfini’s ‘100 Days’

The title ‘100 Days’ refers back to the project for Documenta V (1972) by Joseph Beuys, the influential artist/activist, as well as aiming to give a sense of urgency in the lead-up to the Copenhagen conference. In addition to the PLATFORM events, the season includes exhibitions by Ursula Biemann, Ocean Earth and Barbara Steveni of the Artists Placement Group, and an ongoing Speakers Corner. has details of events and how to get involved, either by attending or posting news of other events and comments.

‘C Words: carbon, climate, capital, culture. How did you get here and where are we going?’