Joining 221A as a 2020-21 Fellow, Christina Battle will conduct research under the working title, Imagining New Systems of Exchange: Looking to Plant and Online Systems for Future Models. Seeking to move beyond capitalism’s built-in cycles of economic breakdown, Battle draws from strategies of resource consumption and trade observed in plants, fungi and online spaces to imagine alternative systems of exchange. Battle’s Fellowship will be developed as a publication, insofar as a publication suggests a political strategy that constructs a public and extends beyond the written page. Research will therefore take multiple forms: a living research document that exists online, a series of public conversations, and a participatory project that engages publics and shifts responsibility of performance onto participants themselves.
Imagining New Systems of Exchange builds upon Battle’s previous experiments with dissemination and methodologies of participation, as explored in recent works such as Postcards for a better budget: reimagining the cut and connecting thru grasses. Research developed through this Fellowship will inform a future participatory artwork that will interact with the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》(T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, 2019) garden at Semi-Public 半公開, to be launched in 2021-22.
Battle’s Fellowship with 221A follows several lines of inquiry:
- What might plant systems – via the x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》 and seeds are meant to disperse – teach us about systems of exchange?
- How is crisis built into our current economic models, and how might we imagine them otherwise?
- What alternative economic models are currently being discussed, especially in light of the compounded crises of COVID-19, income inequality, systemic racism, and climate collapse? How might these models approach and respond to crisis differently?
- How might we imagine a new economic model that is more just and more equitable to both human and non-human entities?
- How might these new economic models be applied to online environments?