A web site by rainer ganahl
this is a commission for BRUGES TRIENNIAL 2015
the word UBER CAPITALISM is turning slowly on top of the fasade of the former stock exchange (bourse) of Bruges, the earliest stock exchange in northern Europe during the 13th century.
BRUGES CAPITALISM - public Lectures and Readings
critical discussions on our current state of our sharing economy (UBER)
see videos turning on INSTAGRAM: RAINERGANAHL #UBERCAPITALISM
its turning.. and all in chocolate - please, see how it turns on instagram.. see links above
size: 80 cm deep, 180 cm wide, 200 cm high without base
letters 180 x 70 cm
500 kg pure chocolate (does not deterriorate : - dieter roth s chocolate was milk chocolate and bad quality, hence problems.. this one doesn t melt and is resistant to age and rain and deterrorization -
Crisis in capitalist terms stands often not only for demise and obliteration but also for new beginnings. The bankruptcy of one player becomes the opportunity of the next one and thus the circle goes on and on. This is not an ovation for some Darwinian bankruptcy capitalism but simple a not so neutral acknowledgment of actual changes in the real world, i.e. the social, technological and economic sphere of our time. Usually, non-efficient unsustainable economies and modes of productions vanish and new ones arrive. Today, for example, even sustainable economic and non-profit reasoning can open new and sophisticated avenues to new riches. With the massive help of our truly revolutionary digital landscape and tools – we carry them in our hands, our pockets, on and in our bodies – a new sharing economy has arrived that is best epitomized by UBER.
UBER is not only a German superlative that might be translated as super, hyper or beyond with real bad connotations to the worst usage of Nietsche”s concept of the Ubermensch, the desastrous mass murderous Ubermensch-ideology that dominated Nazi-Europe, but UBER is also a taxi or car service app that tends to render the traditional yellow caps into pay phone boxes - which have disappeared due to the arrival of mobile phones. I am nearly afraid to report that in smaller US cities I have seen already how the convenience and efficiencies of these comfortable ad hoc services where money is just wired are doing away with the very powerful taxi order that nobody had been able to tinker with in the past. So far, the quick and overpowering popularity of UBER has been even stronger than European regulators who have longstanding traditions of inflexible rules and regulations and seem to lose track. The same goes with other sharing apps, be they for housing, dating, valet parking, dog walking, star spotting or whatever else. They usually render basic services in more convenient and often better ways through a new developing feedback pressures that claim to sidelines bad and foul players. Instant rating invitations while influencing commercial performances in often positive ways are part of our non-stop online culture that helps, entertains, leads, protects, traces, chases, monitors and analyses us permanently and everywhere, thus making us subject to total surveillance, accountability and big data based marketing. These app based offerings open new avenues for an enlarged range of economic participants to interact with unlimited new services that surprise with their flexibility in price structuring so we can go through joy, anger or frustration nearly simultaneously. Needless to say, people who are not connected, not part of a credit based, permanently interlinked and for poor people expensive infrastructure will find themselves with poorer or even no services while they can for sure not profit from the advantages of these apps.
Dealing with this reshaping of our daily commercial and personal interactions I’m currently creating a huge chocolate sculpture with the words UBER CAPITALISM turning above a miniature version of the oldest stock exchange of northern Europe: the Bruges bourse. The sculpture will be first presented in proximity to the old stock exchange north of the Alps in a city that had lost relevance once its maritime access mostly disappeared due to sand erosion. The tools and technologies to reverse that fact were not yet accessible at that time, something that bears resemblance of our raising sea levels and climate change of today. It is therefore not without meaning that I cast this public sculpture in chocolate and make it subject to heat and drooling sweet lust and vandalism. The low melting point as well as the fugacity and perishability of this dark monument should increase the ambivalence towards this seductive nascent new face of capitalism ascended from an entertainment, distraction and consumption driven culture that has data farming and total surveillance as its birth mark and DNA, a digital culture we barely understand in its full consequences. I would also like to state that the slow and steady rotation was inspired by the stellar like Benz logos which are inconspicuously but with very high visibility turning above many major German cities.
In these days, the turned around wealthy town of Bruges is a beautiful, ambitious tourist destination as well as a desirable second home residency for better off middle class Belgians who enjoy the idyllic middle age urban scenery with its displayed historical richness and its cosmetic disneyfied looks and touch ups. It is indeed so lovely, gorgeous, quiet and well restored that it makes you forget about time and context. The absences of a noticeable migrant population in Bruges, so present in other often economically distressed Belgian cities suggests a homogenous nostalgic harmony that makes you forget the permanently boiling cultural, religious, racial and linguistic quarrels surround the town. These conflicts dominate not only the rest of the country but the rest of Europe that still has barely any ways to come to terms with its economic, demographic and cultural changes since it clinches hopelessly on a notion of whiteness and Eurocentric intolerance. It is only symptomatic that only few people remember that chocolate is a quintessential colonial byproduct and couldn’t exist without the cacao beans growing only in former European colonies. It is therefore not without irony that Bruges and its surroundings are the main center of our world wide chocolate production, a dark product that enjoys addiction level consumption in god as well as in bad days. Cacao production is responsible for today’s worst records on child labor, people trafficking and forced as well as enslaved workers of young ages. Working with cacao is extremely hard and hazardous, ruining people’s lives due to heavy machinery and heavy carrying of loads under dubious agents and contexts. It is the immediate proximity of Bruges to the Belgian Chocolate factories that enabled us to secure the nearly 80 000 Euros worth of chocolate mass and its complicated casting of UBER CAPITALISM. s
To conclude the writing on my public sculpture to be hosted for half a year in the context of the Bruges Triennial 2015, the town is not involved or encouraging the common phenomena of a race to the bottom by accommodating mass tourism. Hence, the aspects of our new sharing economy that allow private households or car drivers to sporadic or regular extra income is therefore banned in Bruges by law. On the other side, it is this underlying digital infrastructure and culture facilitating cloud computing, soft ware, information and data sharing, remote computing, working and communicating that enable this class of better off residents and vacationers to look after their trades, investments and businesses even in advanced stages of their lives. UBER CAPITALISM is therefore standing in also as a metaphor for the bodiless, immaterial, atopic enriching and impoverishing phenomena that outperforms and outlives any individual and epoch and chase for balances in the permanent process of reiterating meltdowns and new solidifications.
production ... in Bruges 2015