Diary of a white bear on the free market

Ulla Hvejsel

19.5.2012 - 26.5.2012

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Opening: Friday, 18.5.2012, 17-20

Try and set yourself the task, not to think of a white bear, and you will see, that the cursed thing comes to mind every minute.
Fyodor Dostoyevskij, 1863, in the travel-diary – Winter Notes on Summer Impressions – A book where Dostoyevskij wrote about his experiences from a journey to western Europe, the year before.

In july 2011, this white bear, that has so long been stuck in the head,  went out of it’s mind in Glasgow, Scotland, in order to study the inner beasts of the free market; A market that was first theorized here by the moral philosopher: Adam Smith, in his famous Enquiry into the Nature and the Causes of The Wealth of Nations from 1776.

On may 18th 2012 the white bear presents it’s ”late spring notes on Summer Impressions”; a diary installations presenting it’s 2012 conclusions to it’s 2011 journey onto this historic birthplace of the crisis-stricken free market.

Smiths’s free market is a sympathetic fantasy about a selfdistributive system, where wealth can automatically spread to all of humanity, in spite of those malign selfinterested beasts inside us all, that makes us selfishly keep our wealth to ourselves. Smith’s idea was that the logic of the market, could make even the stingiest critter distribute and share it’s wealth, exactly through trading for it’s own benefit: He said that ”it is not from the humanity of the butcher the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own selfinterest” – and thus, it would be this inner selfinterested beast that in 1776, was supposed to distribute dinner to all of Scotland. This idea has had many a businessman and -woman embrace their inner beast ever since and such high hopes in the beast of the humane is of course also interesting to a whitefurred roarer form the back of the mind.

Thanks to: The Danish Arts Council and CCA Glasgow