A selection of ideas, art direction and design
for art, culture and commerce.

Symbolic Exchange

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The concept of “symbolic exchange” (proposed by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard) is when the value of a trade is not monetary but emotional; when the social relationship being established is more important, or has no bearing, on the economic worth of what is being traded. It is an exchange that doesn’t know, or care about, profit.

This small volume is published as a reflection on the 2015 Bold Tendencies project,
which took place from May 28 to September 27 within a disused multi-storey car park in Peckham, London. It included three site-specific public artworks commissioned by Bold Tendencies: “Agora” by Richard Wentworth, “Possessed” by Metahaven and “Aspects of Change” by åyr.

Symbolic Exchange features several sections of blank pages. They replicate the colossal structural mass and vast, rhythmic horizontality of the Peckham car park. Like that building, this book is also a form of real estate – with a precise cost per square foot. Wilfully empty, undercapitalised property is perhaps today the greatest of luxuries.

Text by Jack Self