Tom Sachs: EXCHANGE | 24h Performance | 2—3 October 2021 | Paris Marais
Money has taken many forms, from shells to gold to pieces of paper that represent gold, to pieces of paper that represent nothing other than your belief in the State. This is no different, this is our money and it is based in faith. — Tom Sachs
On the occasion of Nuit Blanche 2021, Tom Sachs will present a new installation/performance in which visitors are invited to participate over the course of 24 hours. From 2pm on Saturday 2 October to 2pm on Sunday 3 October 2021, the ground floor of our Paris Marais gallery will be converted into a homemade stock exchange conceived by the artist where visitors will be able to enter a trade system and engage in multiple interactive monetary transactions.
The investigation of the normative systems that form the infrastructure of our daily lives is a constant concern in Tom Sachs’ work. In his 2018 Swiss Passport Office installation/performance, the artist was already questioning the concept of nationality and the power structures attached to it.
For this project, Sachs has conceived a trade organisation that references shell money, the first currency system established in many parts of the world. Once the visitors enter the gallery, they are invited to acquire a hand made porcelain bead (in exchange for euros) that they can later exchange for a customized metal coin. The coin may be inserted into a vending machine that dispenses Reese’s Peanut Butter/Chocolate Candy Bars. These Candy Bars were manufactured in Hershey Pennsylvania USA and packaged in Sachs designed wrappers. A digital QR code is sealed into each Candy Bar. When photographed this bar code produces a CHB digital coin (Chocolate Bullion). Chocolate Bullion is dubbed CHB in reference to BCH, the acronym for Bitcoin CasH, the gold standard of cryptocurrency. The visitors then engage in a chain of performative actions during which they have to assess risk and make an investment decision before moving on to the next step. Backed by Candy Bars, the value of CHB will be in constant flux during the duration of the performance, and CHB will live on after it has ended as a new medium of exchange.
The value of CHB, Beads, Metal Coins and the Candy Bars they unlock are all subject to change as market conditions change. The transparent ups and downs will be posted hourly in the publicly chartered exchange. Also present within this Exchange will be a black market that feeds the demands of consumer lust.
Building on the legacy of Joseph Beuys’ pioneering social sculptures, Tom Sachs’ expanded art form aims at redefining key elements of our social contract. Implemented with decentralised control, cryptocurrencies have reconfigured the scale and the way in which we interact today as a community. With this project, Tom Sachs raises the question whether blockchain is about democracy and decentralisation or about greed and speculation.
The major survey exhibition Tom Sachs. Space Program: Rare Earths is on view from 19 September 2021 to 10 April 2022 at Deichtorhallen Hamburg. This fourth iteration of Sachs’ Space Program is part of a thirteen-year exploration of the frontiers of other worlds and human possibilities for space exploration.
Tom Sachs entered the crypto space in August 2021 with his genesis NFT project Tom Sachs: Rocket Factory.
About the artist
As a sculptor Sachs is perhaps best known for his elaborate, bricolage recreations of masterpieces of engineering and design. In an early show he made Knoll office furniture out of phone books and duct tape; later, he recreated Le Corbusier’s 1952 Unité d’Habitation using only foamcore and a glue gun. Major projects have included a home-made life-size Apollo Lunar Excursion Module and a McDonald’s restaurant created using plywood, glue and assorted domestic kitchen appliances.
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02.10.2021 - 03.10.2021
Saturday 2 October 2pm—Sunday 3 October 2pm
with the artist present
7, rue Debelleyme 75003 Paris
No reservation required