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Gift, Countergift

I'm a Brazilian writer and visual artist, with a work that goes through a wide diversity of genres and styles. I found in the concept of Gift, from the famous essay by Marcel Mauss ("Essai sur le don", 1925), an operative key for much of what I do in my artistic and also literary work. I would like to expand this field in my period in Cologne.

In preparing my project for the UzK together with Peter Schulze, we realized that such an alternative logic of exchange could apply not only to objects, but to the cultural dynamic itself as a whole. What would a Museum be like, put in a “state of exchange”, in Mauss’ terms? A University? The Art Market? What about Politics? Would it be possible to think and re-signify some political institutions and uses, based on these concepts? What works –performative, poetical or sculptural – could be inspired by this? Where does this concept end?  Is it naive to think of it as an alternative to the concept of commodity? How to situate it in the everyday life of the contemporary world? How to break the scale of measures that characterizes the world of commodities?

These are the impossible questions that I would like to investigate in Cologne – or this access to another logic (asymmetrical, arbitrary, incongruous) in the relation and exchange between things,  persons and institutions.  


Nuno Ramos