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Anyone lucky enough to be visiting this year’s Manifesta 9 in Genk, Belgium, will be able to hear my dulcet tones emanating from  goldin+senneby’s installation, ‘The Decapitation of Money’. 

This installation was first created in the Kadist Foundation Gallery in Paris in 2010 and consists of two rooms – one made up to look like the lobby of a Russian Bank in Paris (where the term ‘Eurodollar’ was first coined), the other completely dark with black walls, floor and ceiling.  The second room represents the ‘dark forest’ in which Georges Bataille and his collaborators in the secret society Acéphale carried out various strange rituals in the 1930s.  Bataille’s hand-drawn map of the Forét de Marly is reproduced in white on the wall of the room, periodically illuminated by a bright flash of light that burns the image briefly onto the retina of the viewer.  The dark room also contains my voice – in the form of a looped recording of a peripatetic lecture I delivered in the Forét de Marly in May 2010 – weaving together themes of money, decapitation, monarchy, sovereignty, offshore, Bataille, the Cold War and a small riot in Scotland in 1797.

The Forest Room at Fondation Kadist, May 2010

I have never seen the final  installation myself, though I was recently told by the staff at Kadist that it seems to deeply affect many of those who see/hear it.   It also apparently upsets economists who see it (though I can’t imagine there were many) because they seem to think they ‘know’ about money (and that I don’t, presumably!).  Perhaps this is why it has travelled so widely,  having been reproduced in both Sweden and Germany on its way to Genk.  If anyone does see it in Belgium (it seems unlikely I will get there myself), I’d love to hear your impressions of it.

George Cruikshank expresses his feelings for economists. One of the images from the catalogue.