MoneyLab #6: Infrastructures of Money

7-8 March 2019, Siegen, Germany

The abstracts for the talks are here.
The videos of all the talks are here.

Download the program here: MoneyLab #6 Flyer


Conference: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Unteres Schloß 1, Siegen

Workshops: Unteres Schloß, Unteres Schloß 3, building A, Siegen

7 March 2019

9.30 a.m.: Doors open & registration.

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Anthropology of Money
blog post

Moderation: Geert Lovink
Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall

Sociality, like everything else, can be monetised. Are we in need of a new general monetary theory? Money is as much a question of practice as it is of social infrastructure. Things are bought and sold. Money changes hands. The anthropology of money has a long tradition of exploring these localised practices of exchange through ethnographic inquiries into the relations between money, gift and credit. The quantified data units of platforms and their new digital tokens of value introduce new standards of exchange and challenge anthropologists to account for situated practices and global infrastructures at the same time. How do these changing infrastructures alter monetary practices and our account of value?

  • Erhard Schüttpelz: For the Love of Money: A Braudelian Perspective (video)
  • Anna Echterhölter: New Governmental Money: From Rationing Cupons to Refugee Credit (video)
  • Jens Schröter: Society after Money: A Project (video)
  • Akseli Virtanen (Economic Space Agency): The Politics and Economics of Crypto-Enabled Infrastructures for the New Economy (video)

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch Buffet
Room: tbc

  • Combined with an opening of “The Attention Fair” by Julia Janssen at 12:30, room US-A 234 (blog post)

1.30 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.: Aesthetics of Financial Flows
blog post

Moderation: Patricia de Vries
Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall

There is a rich tradition of visualising financial flows going all the way back to the 1920s. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, understanding the often opaque operations of finance suddenly became more urgent. Visualisation practices have since been taken up by a broad array of artists and activists. By following internet cables, dissecting financial architecture, and mapping the timelines of flash crashes, these maps have given us renewed insights into a notoriously complex and incredibly high speed sector. But what do we do after the mapping is over? Are there routes from the visual to the political? How can knowledge of these systems lead to new regulation, local action and increased agency?

  • RYBN.ORG: Speculative Algorithmic Trading (video)
  • Chris Anderson, Angeles Briones, Michele Mauri: Fog of Finance? Visualising Offshore and the Aesthetics of Uncertainty (video)
  • Vienne Chan, Giulia dal Maso: Inspirations from the Periphery: A Speculative Counter-Approach to Carry-trade Activity (video)
  • C-2: Ownership Experiment – Partial Art Auction (blog post | video)

3.30 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Coffee

4 p.m. – 6 p.m.:  Finance, Automation and Surveillance
blog post

Moderation: Sebastian Gießmann
Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst,
Lecture Hall

Financial surveillance is still on its way up. Though practices of surveillance date back to the 19th century, there is a new intensity and ubiquity to them today. Think of transnational transparency regimes (Basel III), think of new EU regulations concerning identification in payments technologies, think of credit card transaction leaks that are quickly de-anonymised by researchers. These developments foreground the fact that technologies of accounting, scoring, and subjectivation are at the core of digital and mobile network media now. How can we think about the new distributedness and temporalisation of monetary practices? And how does machine learning transform monetary valuation, algo-trading, fintech platforms, their APIs, and financial decision-making? As regimes that automatically intervene in real-time transactions, such technologies establish, perpetuate, and remediate “orders of worth”. Of course, this desire for automation has been part of every computerisation movement. But we also recognise that money often serves as a medium of heteromation and dis-automation. Financial surveillance is frequently accompanied by infrastructural frictions and calls for accountability. We want to hear about practices that explore the seams and ruptures, the moments of breakdown and manual intervention.

  • Josh Lauer: On the Datafication of Money: How the Payment Card Became a Technology of Consumer Surveillance (video)
  • Rachel O’Dwyer: Cashing Out and Keeping Account: A Politics of Transactional Dataveillance (video)
  • Q&A part 1 video
  • Armin Beverungen: Cognition, Calculation and Collectivity in Algorithmic Capitalism (video)
  • Karin Knorr-Cetina: Posthuman Financial Markets: The Rise of Algorithms in Finance (video)
  • Q&A part 2 video

8 March 2019

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Blockchains Beyond Fintech
blog post

Moderation: Ronja Trischler
Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Beyond the cryptocurrency hype of the last decade, the underlying principles and technologies known as the blockchain have now become widely dispersed. From health to academic research, energy to governance, copyright law to fine art, actors and organisations in various social fields are exploring the blockchain. Unleashed from its niche origins in cryptography and electronic currency, the blockchain’s data decentralisation is now held up as the solution for every problem. Sustainable energy? Blockchain! Higher quality research? Blockchain! Fairer globalisation? Blockchain! Blockchain! Blockchain!

Today the blockchain is everywhere. But just as important as its ubiquity is its perceived maturity. No longer the risky venture of the startup or the experimental tinkering of cypherpunks, blockchains are quickly becoming part of commercial platforms with significant investment that implement the concept at  scale. Alongside these corporate implementations, the blockchain has also found its way into civil society, grassroots initiatives, NGOs, and art institutions. Yet the ‘blockchain’ is ambiguous and open-ended. Whether impressive, peculiar, or even corrupt, each implementation asserts its own version of what a decentralised data practice means and what it should be used for. In this varied landscape, the tensions that make up its ‘trustless’ transactions—secure and transparent yet anonymous—become blurry or sometimes even mutually exclusive. In practice, excluding trust might require consent, or registration might trump anonymity. As new flavours and understandings of the blockchain proliferate, how can the blockchain be used “for the good”? And what are the real sociotechnical problems we need to address?

  • Emanuele Braga: Infrastructures For Future Ecosystems (video)
  • Martín Nadal, César Andaluz: Critical Mining: Blockchain and Bitcoin in Contemporary Art (video)
  • Oliver Leistert: Object-oriented Scarcity as a Technology of Governmentality (lecture text | video)
  • Sarah Friend, Saraswathi Subbaraman (Circles): CirclesUBI: Towards a Community-owned Basic Income (video)

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch Buffet
Room: tbc

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Workshops

  • Economic Space Agency: The Feel of the Infrastructure: Engineering New Economic Spaces.
  • Martín Nadal & César Escudero Andaluz: BitCoin of Things (BoT). Theory and practice Workshop.
    • Room: Unteres Schloß, US-A 134
  • Rachel O’Dwyer: Forgotten, Failed, Fictional: Research Methods for Fintech. (blog post)
    • Room: Unteres Schloß, US-A 234

3 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.: Coffee

3.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m.: Monetizing the Social – Socialising Money
blog post

Moderation: Carolin Gerlitz
Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst

The monetisation of the social is proliferating far beyond the crude ad-based models on early social media platforms. From influencer marketing on Instagram to third party app economies built on platforms and the constant re-valorisation of social media data in rankings, ratings and analytics, we ask how emergent digital infrastructures monetise the social today. At the same time, we seem to be witnessing an emerging socialisation of money, from financial literacy communities to DIY investment schemes and financial products that cut out the middleman of the bank. How will our social lives be the foundation of new economic models and how is the socialisation of money informing the financial sector?

  • Nate Tkacz: Designerly Banking and The Securitization of Experience (video)
  • Tom McDonald, Li Dan: “Pulling sheep’s wool”: Digital Money, Online Thriftiness and Organizational Misbehaviour in a Chinese Factory (video)
  • Johannes Paßmann: Mundane Valuation: Co-Creating Objects, Subjects and Media in Social Media (video)
  • Crystal Abidin: Influencers and the Commodification of Everyday Life: Brief Histories from Blogshops, Instagram, and tumblr (video)

Further Information


Twitter handle: #inframoney

Organised by

Carolin Gerlitz, Sebastian Gießmann, Inte Gloerich, Geert Lovink and Ronja Trischler.

MoneyLab #6 is a collaboration between the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam (NL) and the Cooperative Research Centre “Media of Cooperation”, Siegen (DE).


Sebastian Gießmann –

Ronja Trischler –

Carolin Gerlitz –

For questions about the event, please email: