the gift economy

On Friday July 20th visual artist Tracy Taylor Grubbs and I will be facilitating an event that Tracy created calls “Free Art Friday.”

Here is Tracy’s description of the event:
The goal of the event is to pose questions about the value of what we see versus what we know. Between 12:00 and 2:00 pm—a time when office workers move to and from work and lunch destinations, we will position ourselves on the sidewalk and ask passersby to participate by exchanging the immaterial for the material. In exchange for offering something immaterial
(a song, a piece of advice, a story), they can select from a dance that I create on the spot or a picture of the dance by Tracy.

Here is additional description of the event in Tracy’s words:
Free Art Friday was inspired by the idea of the “gift economy” as outlined by author Lewis Hyde in his seminal book The Gift. The goal of the project is to offer an alternative economic reality while exploring commerce, art and community on the edges of the San Francisco Financial District.

Everyone should be able to experience their self worth beyond the narrow options established by the market economy. Free Art Friday addresses this important societal need by providing gentle interruptions to the workday, encouraging participants to dig into their own resourcefulness in order to make an exchange. No money is allowed in these transactions.

The project is aesthetically significant because while it speaks truth to power, it does so with a light touch and a sense of humor and deep respect for the participants’ own creativity.

Here are photos from the first installation of the event:

I’m looking forward to joining Tracy in a version of the event that includes dancing.