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Debt Positive

June 3-24, 2016

June 3, 6-10pm: Opening Reception
Cayla Mae Presents: Free*Sandwiches from 6-9pm

June 9, 7:30pm: Flux Thursday with presentations by Cassie Thornton and Thomas Gokey

June 14, 6:30pm: Junk Bonds workshop with Paolo Cirio

June 24, 7pm: Closing Performances including Remembering Capitalism by Nathaniel Sullivan, Introducing the Demi by Tori Abernathy, and $1000 Mandala by Sarah Beck.

Gallery Hours: Thursday–Saturday 12-6pm or by appointment, June 4-24

There will be ongoing performances during open gallery hours including $1000 Mandala by Sarah Beck and Not everything that counts, can be counted by Moira Williams, Niki Athanasiadou, Michael Asbill, Lichen Lovers.

Debt Positive logo web

For three weeks in June, Debt Positive invites you to bring interest to bear on indebtedness that is shared openly and not exclusively. Debt might be the fundamental basis of human relations, but today it is also tricky business. Individuals shun it, but organizations welcome it as a means to grow. Debt seems to drive the economy yet appears abstracted to absurdity. Most people in the U.S. share debt, yet debt is borne out privately. How do we put our finger on the debt, which is everywhere powerful and nowhere seen? Through an evolving exhibition, performances, and workshops Debt Positive beckons people to re-envision debt, sublimate it, and consider possibilities for eliminating its wasteful implementations.

Many of the artists in Debt Positive were kids at the dawn of Reagan’s “Morning in America”, which saw the transformation of the United States from the world’s biggest creditor to its biggest debtor—a status maintained by the U.S. today. As the relationship between debtors and creditors grows more abstract, the chance for miscommunication increases. Debt plays out on many frequencies to produce an affective field of precarity for which this exhibition aims to make space. Cassie Thornton’s site-specific paintings for financial institutions, the solidarity building workshops of Rolling Jubilee member Thomas Gokey, and the postcapitalist performances of Nathaniel Sullivan milk the incommensurability of debt’s empirical and emotional dimensions. The participatory system of Cayla Lockwood’s Free* Sandwiches celebrates debt-accumulating structures of compounded irrationality. Lisa Hirmer’s Tablets of Working Bees beckons viewers to contribute to a collective account of debt and labor using a material that is inherently mutable. The artworks and workshops of this international group of artists leverage a transmedia approach well suited to chopping at the necks of debt’s many heads – from the financial to the microbial. Because debt is a moving target, the works in Debt Positive live in a state of flux and tempt viewer investment.

Participating Artists Include: Tori Abernathy,  Sarah Beck, Paolo Cirio, Eliott Eds, Jehanne-Marie Gavarini, Thomas Gokey, Lisa Hirmer, Cayla Lockwood, PEEP – Paul Esposito and Evan Paschke, Sarah Petersen, Brittany M. Powell, Nathaniel Sullivan, Cassie Thornton, Ellen Wetmore, Moira Williams with with Niki Athanasiadou, Michael Asbill, and Lichen Lovers.

Debt Positive is one of Flux Factory’s 2016 major exhibitions and is curated by Caitlin Foley and Misha Rabinovich.


Caitlin Foley:
Misha Rabinovich:

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“Credit is a means of privatization and debt a means of socialisation…debt is social and credit is asocial. Debt is mutual. Credit runs only one way. But debt runs in every direction, scatters, escapes, seeks refuge. The debtor seeks refuge among other debtors, acquires debt from them, offers debt to them. The place of refuge is the place to which you can only owe more and more because there is no creditor, no payment possible.”

— the Undercommons: Stefano Harney & Fred Moten

Debt Positive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


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