End-of-the-World Trade: On the Speculative Economies of Art and Extraction

Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building

21st and 22nd of June

Fri 21 June 3pm – 6pm : RHB 342
Sat 22 June 10 – 6 pm : RHB 312


This two-day event explores how ‘end-of-the-world’ scenarios and processes have given financial capitalism a new lease of life.

Bringing together researchers, artists, theorists the event will consider how over the last decade financialisation has mutated new techniques of value extraction and emulation. All of which indicate emerging frontiers of social struggle spanning cultural, digital, geological, biological and sensual fields of knowledge and experience.

The two watchwords of the larger research programme for this event are ‘extraction’ and ‘mimesis’. Extraction inasmuch as the scraping of value from exhausted resources is the current model of endgame capitalism, from the ‘gig economy’ to socially and geophysically devastating mining to the energy demands of the infrastructure servicing the digital economy, with cryptocurrency mining as the nexus where dominant as well as emergent models of social and energy extraction collide and comply. Here, emulation plays an important role, as capital increasingly mimics human biology and social exchange for profit, while the human and the social needs to retrofit itself as forms of capital in order to survive in a landscape of scarcity, commodification and debt. Mimesis is the worldmaking side of emulation, however, recalling aesthetic philosophies which re-imagine the nature-culture divide as not moving from exploitation to immersion, as much ‘new materialist’ thinking does, but to forms of mutual re-invention and adaptability which requires a profound shift in the material and social boundaries that reproduce nature and culture as polarities and as sites of escalating crisis. Art and financial technologies, specifically cryptocurrencies and all digital ledger-based forms of accounting, encapsulate both sides of the extraction/mimesis continuum, particularly with how contemporary cultural and political practices bring up close the agency of financial technologies in expanding the space of incalculability and contingency but also in enclosing the incalculable and sensate in routines of financial accumulation and extraction.

With the participation of Dele Adeyemo, Josephine Berry, Marleen Boschen, Dhanveer Brar, Ami Clarke, João Enxuto & Erica Love, FRAUD, Elizabeth Johnson, Costas Lapavitsas, Jorge Lucero Diaz feat. Ramon Amaro and Amazon Prime Queen (Victoria McKenzie), Le peuple que manque, Rachel O’Reilly, Emily Rosamond, and Mi You.

Organised by Marina Vishmidt (Media, Communications and Cultural Studies) & Louis Moreno (Visual Cultures)

Supported by the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership + the Digital Worldmaking Stream (Technologies, Worlds, Politics)