To Have and To Owe

September 21 - October 27, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, September 21, 6:00pm

At EFA Project Space, 323 W. 39th St. 2nd Floor

Events with: Arts & Labor, Richard Dienst, Jennifer Flores Sternad, Fran Ilich, Randy Martin, Annie McClanahan, Occupy University, Cassie Thornton, and Caroline Woolard

Infographics by: Brendan Griffiths, Zak Klauck & Mylinh Trieu Nguyen

Organized by: Leigh Claire La Berge & Laurel Ptak with assistance from designer Eric Nylund & intern Gina Bull

From September 21–October 27, 2012, EFA Project Space in New York City will present To Have and To Owe, a research platform and event series for thinking about debt. Focused on the social relations that debt engenders, To Have and To Owe has invited a range of artists, theorists, designers and others to offer lectures, performances, workshops, infographics, discussions, quilting sessions, visualizations, exploring the subject of debt and opening up a space in which its aesthetic and social dimensions may be considered as part of its economic register.

Through live events, cultural production, and online publication, To Have and To Owe seeks to widen discussion on topics including: debt as discipline, money as social medium, re-distributions of wealth, banking crises, debt peonage, credit worthiness, collectivizing debt, philanthropy as debt in reverse, and debtor strikes, among numerous other subjects.

Over the five weeks EFA Project Space will function as a meeting site, reading room and accumulative bulletin board where participants and audience members are welcome to post and distribute diverse visual and textual materials around the subject of debt. Commissioned infographics will provide alternative models to mapping and realizing economic knowledge and a specially-assembled debtors library is open to the public including texts that address debt from theoretical, historical and tactical perspectives.

Of particular interest is the way in which debt has been inscribed as a fundamental mechanism of power and subjugation in contemporary society. While debt is front and center as an issue in both politics and our personal lives, the basis of its control seems directly related to the fact that it is experienced opaquely. Debt exists simultaneously as a form of absence and presence. And though debt is socially enforced it is almost always individually experienced with this fundamental tension rendering it difficult to represent collectively. So what happens if we work towards undoing debt’s unrepresentability? What if we experienced debt as a shared cultural form that is perceptible, communicable, or materialized? How can debt be rendered as a nuanced historical, philosophical, and even aesthetic problem in all of its social thickness inside American life?



Friday, September 21, 6:00pm To Have and To Owe Opening & Performance by Cassie Thornton

Monday, September 24, 7:30pm Reading Group

Monday, October 1, 7:30pm Reading Group

Wednesday, October 3, 7:00pm Debt & Growth with Andrew Ross

Thursday, October 4, 6:30pm Lecture: Leigh Claire La Berge & Annie McClanahan

Saturday, October 6, 1:00pm Arts & Labor Discussion & Quilting Session

Tuesday, October 9, 6:30pm Research Group: Diego de la Vega Experimental Economies & Finance Group

Thursday, October 11, 6:30pm Lecture: Richard Dienst

Monday, October 15, 7:30pm Reading Group

Tuesday, October 16, 6:30pm Rethinking Your MFA: Looking at Art as the By-Product of Debt

Wednesday, October 17, 7:00pm A Brief History of Debt Resistance with George Caffentzis

Thursday, October 18, 7:00pm The Visual Culture of Debt with Nick Mirzoeff

Friday, October 19, 7:00pm The Aesthetics of Debt Resistance with Yates McKee

Saturday, October 20, 2:00pm On Municipal Debt with Ann Larson

Saturday, October 20, 4:00pm Workshop: Communal Debt as Sound

Saturday, October 20, 5:30pm Performance: Communal Debt as Sound

Monday, October 22, 7:30pm Reading Group

Wednesday, October 24, 6:30pm Lecture: Randy Martin

Friday, October 26, 7:00pm Debt, Desire and Denial with Winter and Nicole Hala, and Pam Brown

Saturday, October 27, 4:00pm Workshop with Caroline Woolard

By Appointment Debt Visualizations with Cassie Thornton