On July 10th, 2023, Weird Economies hosted its first in-person gathering in Lisbon, Portugal inside the cavernous space of Carpintarias de São Lázaro Cultural Center extending the network of weird economic experimentation. The inaugural gathering featured select contributions from stakeholders and Lisbon-based projects including Bassam El Baroni, Erik Bordeleau, Vienne Chan, Luiza Crosman, João Enxuto and Erica Love, Halle Frost, Bahar Noorizadeh, Duda Pedreira, Margarida Mendes, Pedro Gomes of AAVP - Associação de Artistas Visuais em Portugal, and Sara Gaspar of Climáximo.
The event kicked off with an introduction to Weird Economies by Bahar Noorizadeh. Noorizadeh delved into the interplay between art, technology, and economics, and the importance of reimagining, and creatively shaping economic systems.
Theorist Erik Bordeleau joined remotely to recap his contributions to Weird Economies and speculate on future options for “weirding” economies. Bordeleau concluded with an oblique spin on approaches to Weird Economies by referencing “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley” by David Foster Wallace for the text’s description of the qualities of tennis which link it to derivative thinking.
Curator and board member Bassam El Baroni, provided a presentation on the ways artists are engaging with economic and infrastructural issues. El Baroni traced the recent breakdown of art’s economic exceptionalism to economic and technological factors that have triggered new, targeted approaches by artists who work with finance as a medium.
In 2022, Weird Economies commissioned remote residencies for three artists, two were presented next:
Board member Luiza Crosman interviewed Duda Pedreira on his project, Brewing Ownership, which involved the development of an interactive game centered around a community-driven beer cooperative. This innovative game was designed to model funding alternatives for the local electronic music rave scene beyond traditional dependence on corporate, multinational beer and beverage monopolies.
Commissioned artist and researcher Vienne Chan, concluded the first half of the event by presenting her investigation into pension systems and senior care in the municipality of Janoshida in rural Hungary where the aim is to build an ecological care village. Chan’s residency involved engaging with care workers to propose increased funding for the underpaid care sector. The resulting project, Institute of Care, advocates for expanding the care labor force and creating a novel pension fund.
The presentation concluded with a Q&A session with the live audience.
The second half of the event centered on exploring activities in Portugal. Weird Economies invited three Lisbon-based participants to provide localized perspectives on art, economy, and infrastructure. Following a brief introduction by João Enxuto and Erica Love on contemporary arts funding, energy, and climate activism, Sara Gaspar, representing Climáximo, delivered an impassioned dissection of the “greenwashing” strategies of the cultural foundation Energias de Portugal (EDP) – the country’s electrical power monopoly and the largest corporate funder for the arts in Portugal.
Curator Margarida Mendes continued the thread with her artistic and activist work on the topic of deepsea mining off the coast of Portugal. Mendes analyzed the legal jurisdictions of the ocean as sites for the extraction of rare earth metals. The presentation shifted tactical scales between local struggles and global activist networks.
Next, Pedro Gomes, a Lisbon-based visual artist and Vice President of the Associação de Artistas Visuais em Portugal (AAVP) took the stage. AAVP is a non-profit association that promotes Portuguese artists’ ability to collectively govern and regulate working conditions in their field. Gomes was joined on stage by Weird Economies editor Halle Frost, who engaged Gomes by citing the working conditions of cultural workers in Germany, through her direct experience as editor for the Berlin-based publication, Arts of the Working Class. After receiving questions from both remote and live audiences, the evening concluded well after 9 pm.