Behind the scenes sculpture from the making of Wilma (2018), in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type.


Behind the scenes sculpture from the making of Wilma (2018), in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type.


Behind the scenes sculpture from the making of Wilma (2018), in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type.


Behind the scenes sculpture from the making of Wilma (2018), in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type.


Fellowship of Citizens

arebyte gallery London

2018

Fellowship of Citizens is an interest group founded by Saemundur Thor Helgason in Reykjavik in October 2017 with the aim of lobbying for basic income in Iceland through apolitical means.

Fellowship of Citizens is the title of Helgason’s first solo exhibition in London. The exhibition formally launched the interest group Félag Borgara (or in English ‘Fellowship of Citizens’).

Part of arebyte’s 2018 programme Islands, the interest group seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of a financing scheme which operates as an economic island, a microcosmic financial system, lobbying for basic income in Iceland. The work operates on a national scale due to legal restrictions, but financially supports BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network), an international organisation that advocates for basic income worldwide.

Fellowship of Citizens aims to fund BIEN with regular payments raised by a national lottery called ‘Happdrætti Listamanna’ (or ‘Artist Lottery’) open to all citizens of Iceland [2]. In Iceland, the Listamannalaun (or ‘Artist salary’), annually awards a given number of artists a monthly basic income for 3 months to up to 2 years. If we imagine (as Joseph Beuys did), that everyone is an artist, in some ways this could be seen as a trial for analogous minimum basic income. Bearing this in mind, the lottery campaign will address all citizens as if they were artists. Slogans include "Who creates more masterpieces at dinner, you or Warhol?”, “Embrace your inner artist", "Are you a good cook, by Duchamp's standards?", "Who's the better karaoke queen: You or Marina Abramović?”

Happdrætti Listamanna does not pose as a micro pilot for basic income but serves as a tool for promoting the idea of basic income. Due to legal restrictions on small-scale lotteries in Iceland, the first prize cannot be money, or quasi-money, but must be a commodity or a service.

Thus, for the inaugural lottery draw, taking place later this year, the first and only prize is I’m feeling lucky, a 100g, 18K gold artwork by the London based artist Anna Mikkola, commissioned by the interest group.

Fellowship of Citizens aims to finance its activities through the lottery and generate artworks, essays, articles, films etc in collaboration with various agents in the creative economy. Rather than being a symbolic gesture addressing the lack of economic value of marginalised types of labour, the organisation aims to provide systemic change.

As part of the exhibition at arebyte, excerpts from for a new short film written and directed by Hawk Bjorgvinsson, Wilma (2018), will be showcased. The film is produced by Fellowship of Citizens together with Chanel Björk Sturludóttir and Katrín Arndísardóttir. The director has been given carte blanche to make a film of their own choice, on the basis that excerpts from the film may be taken out of context to serve as non-illustrative visual material for the interest group and the lottery.

Accompanying the short film, a new sculptural body of work has been produced in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type. Photographs, depicting behind-the-scenes of the making of Wilma (2018), are eclectically displayed on monolithic lottery sculptures slightly elevated from the floor and which turn slowly synchronously in the gallery.

The exhibition also features a new written contribution by Nick Srnicek on Abolishing the Distributaries of Value (2018).

Typeface and graphic design by Gnax Type.




Abolishing the Distributaries of Value by Nick Srnicek (2018), commisioned by Fellowship of Citizens.

Abolishing the Distributaries of Value by Nick Srnicek (2018), commisioned by Fellowship of Citizens.

Happdrætti Listamanna, prototype for a lottery ticket, (2018) feat. Anna Mikkola & Gnax Type.


Still from an excerpt from Wilma (2018) written and directed by Hawk Bjorgvinsson, co-produced by Fellowship of Citizens.


Organizing an interest group (2018), poster for Fellwoship of Citizens at arebyte.


Organizing an interest group (2018), trailer for Fellwoship of Citizens at arebyte.
Abolishing the Distributaries of Value

by Nick Srnicek (2018)

Under our current mode of production, we find ourselves socially recognised through monetary sums. The efforts that we make, the energy that we expend, the projects we build, and the contributions we add to society are aggregated and represented as a single figure in a vast social ledger. These figures mark our position in society, tracking the production, consumption, and distribution of value as it travels around the world and as it determines our mode of existence in a world dominated by capital.

The question we face today is what happens when the mechanisms for creating and distributing that value become scarce? What happens when the production of value is simply funnelled and concentrated upwards, while its distributary networks dry up and perish as dead labour takes over from living labour? At best, we see people fighting and pushing to reach the few remaining outlets, increasingly debasing themselves in a desperate effort to siphon off some value from the process of accumulation. At worst, entire groups of people are excluded and left as an unnecessary excess to the functioning of the economy. How can this situation be rectified? How can the distribution of value be reengineered in ways that abolish its concentration while simultaneously enabling the expansion of capacities to act, think, and feel?

It is here that ideas of a universal basic income can offer us potential. Instead of tying the distribution of value to a narrow set of socially validated performances, a universal income recognises that the production of value is collective and the wealth we generate is a commons. While capitalism has individualised the attribution, distribution, and recognition of value, we must instead demand a basic collective right to our common wealth. Whether we work in a factory, work in the home, or work to create, we demand a right to be recognised and a right to existence without the compulsion of wage-labour. This is the future that a universal basic income offers: in a world where the requirements of living labour have been reduced to a minimum, we stand poised on the edge of an immense expansion in our collective and individual freedoms. The challenge now is to rebuild anew the channels of value.



Félag Borgara at Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Félag Borgara at Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Félag Borgara at Kling & Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland.


Video recordings of sculptures produced in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type.
‘Professional Amateur’

Curated by Dagrún Aðalsteinsdóttir

Kling & Bang

2018

featuring works by:

Arnar Ásgeirsson
Bergur Ebbi
Dagrún Aðalsteinsdóttir
Hrafnhildur Helgadóttir
Saemundur Thor Helgason

In this exhibition video recordings of sculptures produced in collaboration with photographer Berglaug Petra Garðarsdóttir and type foundry Gnax Type are showcased.

The photographs give an insight into the making of Wilma (2018) written and directed by Hawk Bjorgvinsson.

The film is co-produced by Fellowship of Citizens on the basis that excerpts from the film can serve as non-illustrative visual material to promote ideas about basic income.




Mark