"One day, everything will be free..."

Salt Beyoğlu, Salt Galata

"One Day, Everything Will Be Free..."                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Fotograf: Joseph Redwood-Martinez, 2012
Photo: Joseph Redwood-Martinez, 2012

SALTonline.org, SALT Galata, SALT Beyoğlu

The seemingly indispensable tools we use daily for social networking and online communication are all increasingly provided to us for free. In fact, as our way of life is becoming dependent on these and other gifted resources, many of the largest and most influential companies in the world are beginning to profit more from giving certain things away than from charging for them. Perhaps this growing flood of gifted goods implies that one day, everything will be free. But in any case, it becomes increasingly obvious: we’re not paying for it because we’re not the customer, we’re the product being sold.

Critical engagement with gift economies, open culture, intellectual property, and immaterial exploitation is not so new or unfamiliar, but the very real effects of these concepts are changing the way cultural practice is structured and how the once paying audience is now being enticed to remain involved, to keep giving, or to pay in other ways.

But how are these new economic structures and their fundamental contradictions understood by cultural producers and social activists? How to engage with and situate oneself in relation to systems that facilitate the free exchange of information and ideas, yet simultaneously operate as structures of subjectification or mechanisms of corporatized social responsibility? Perhaps this could just start with a question a little closer to home: SALT is free, but at what or whose cost?

“One day, everything will be free…” is a long-term research project aimed at opening up questions about the economics of cultural institutional practice that in part stem from SALT being privately funded initiative partially located in the former Ottoman Bank. In order to encourage conversations about support structures for contemporary cultural production in Turkey, and to engage with cultural producers and audiences as they respond to and understand these structures, the dispersed research project will develop indefinitely with and through the participation of diverse publics and interlocutors.

Aiming to learn from and point toward the range of projects and proposals that have already set this line of inquiry into motion, this project began and will continue through a series of conversations with a group of collaborators who are already doing work in and around this topic. Initial conversations with Regine Basha, Celine Condorelli, Burak Delier, Elmas Deniz, Annika Eriksson, İsmail Ertürk, Goldin+Senneby, Katya Sander and Carey Young shaped the structure for the research project—several of these conversations have been transcribed and published on SALTonline.org—and throughout 2012, these and other interlocutors will be invited to give lectures, research presentations, or produce new work within this framework.

Matteo Pasquinelli, Laurel Ptak, Özgür Uçkan, Caleb Waldorf and Eva Weinmayr have been invited to give lectures and research presentations for a program titled FUTURES AND OPTIONS, scheduled for March 15th and 16th at SALT Beyoğlu. These presentations will allow us to hear from a range of protagonists who have variously engaged with the topics under consideration in this project. This program will also provide a setting to invite the range of responses that will carry this project forward.

Taking the form of a curated video program accompanied by short presentations layering historical, cultural, and personal narratives addressing escape, withdrawal, strategic separatism, and the human strike, a program titled HERE AND ELSEWHERE will develop daily from March 20 to March 25 in the Walk-In Cinema at SALT Beyoğlu. This project will provide a platform for considering cultural obsessions with the possibility of an outside in relation to the implications of these scenarios where the price of everything effectively drops to zero–where crowdsourcing is the new outsourcing and everywhere is elsewhere.

Situated throughout SALTonline.org, SALT Galata, and SALT Beyoğlu, “One day, everything will be free…,” consists of a series of projects that will continue to look at the varied and conflicting legacies and implications of free economies, the recent turn within the field of cultural production toward reengaging with dormant economic imaginaries, and the changing relationships between what is privately owned and publicly shared in society.

“One day, everything will be free…” is organized by guest researcher Joseph Redwood-Martinez in collaboration with SALT Research & Programs.