Blowup: Show Me The Money Talkaoke

Featuring: Saul Albert (UK), Diane Ragsdale (US/NL), Hans Abbing(NL)

With austerity budgets slicing into the civil service, healthcare, education, and the arts across Europe, it’s a prime moment to stop and assess what we as a society value and hold dear. The straw man argument usually goes that hospitals are more important than art galleries, but is a society with no cultural expression worth living in? We can put a man on the moon, so can’t we balance a budget so that people have good local hospitals and a nice film festival to attend, too? Our society has evolved in an amazing way — flush toilets! airplanes! smartphones! — and yet when it comes to investing in culture, it can feel like we never left the cave.

This debate  focused on the finer points of how we think about culture and money, and how we can get out of the losing argument with our austerity-minded leaders. The conversation was guided by a cultural economist with experience both in Europe and the US (Diane Ragsdale), an artist-economist with insides into both fields (Hans Abbing) and a representative from The People Speak, who masterminded the Who Wants To Be?gameshow/social experiment that saw V2_ audiences spending around 1000 Euro together at the previous night’s Test_Lab (Saul Albert).

Following a brief talk show with Diane, Hans and Saul, the audience  joined us at the interactive Talkaoke table. The debate was animated and heated, as participants challenged each other on how economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy can co-exist.

event stream

“This was the first event in ten years I’ve organised where everybody spoke!”

Michelle Kasprzak
V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media

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