Café The Invisible Heart

AT the café (a overall text about the project)

Shedding light on Hidden Economies is at the heart of this artistic project. Which kind of work are remunerated, and which are not? Which has value and which has not seen from a socioeconomic perspective? And according to what criteria is value attributed?

Swop Influerade av aktuella världshändelser (som for eksempel Me too rörelsen) samt egenhändig ofrivillig forskning (vår vardag) tar vi hjälp av feministisk diskurs i vår kritik av hur konventionell ekonomi undervärderar reproducerande arbete. Första anhalt i vårt samarbete är att tillsammans utforma projektet Café Det Usynlige Hjerte som kommer genomföras i samarbete med Kunsthal Aarhus, på konsthallens utomhusområde, under två helger i augusti 2018.

Café Det Usynlige Hjerte, approprierar formen av en vardaglig mötesplats – ett café. Dock sker där ingen monetär transaktion. För att få ”handla” i caféet, ”betalar” besökaren genom mutual favours and by conversations with us sharing experiences and their notions and imaginations on reproduction and production.

‘Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker,  that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest […]’ .   (Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations” 1779)

Our main source for this project is the work by feminist economists and scholars such as feminist economist Nancy Folbre, proff. of economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst and economic geographers J.K Gibson-Graham (pen name for Julie Graham and Catherine Gibson) amongst others.

As the title indicates we are drawing on concepts and thoughts developed by Nancy Folbre in her book The Invisible Heart – Economics and Family Values (2002).

There has been much talk about family values in recent years, but little examination of the economic forces that are exploding family life and limiting the caregiving that families can provide. As Folbre points out in her provocative and insightful new book, every society must confront the problem of balancing self-interested pursuits with care for others—including children, the elderly, and the infirm. Historically, most societies enjoyed an increased supply of care by maintaining strict limits on women’s freedom. But as these limits happily and inevitably give way, there are many consequences for those who still need care.

Using the image of “the invisible heart” to evoke the forces of compassion that must temper the forces of self-interest, Folbre argues that if we don’t establish a new set of rules defining our mutual responsibilities for caregiving, the penalties suffered by the needy—our very families—will increase. Intensified economic competition may drive altruism and families out of business. Unlike others who praise family values, Folbre acknowledges the complicated relationship between women and altruism. Her book offers new interpretations of such policy issues as welfare reform, school finance, and progressive taxation, and it confronts the challenges of globalization, outlining strategies for developing an economic system that rewards both individual achievement and care for others.

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