Trueque: a meaning beyond the object

A workshop refers to an arrangement whereby a group of people learn, acquire new knowledge, perform creative problem-solving, or innovate in relation to a domain-specific issue (Ørngreen & Levinsen, 2017) and inspired by the Blueprint for Counter Education a set of posters  that  serve as a portable learning environment for a new process-based model of education. This experiment is aiming to combine both concepts and remediate Trueque experience into a bookwork/gameboard/artifact 

This book is awesome .it is a facsimile printed in 2016 but the original edition was published in the late 60s by Maurice Stein and Larry Miller. I am totally astonished by these educational artifacts !! They are so visually atractive and energetic as a poster, and they were innovative proposal visual material for non lineal reading as well . In addition they are functional artifacts that deploy workshops . WOW

The main objectives of this exercise is : 

  • to remediate a concept of Trueque marketplace . There are already remediation I have done previously for the digital realm, Trueque for Salutches and Trueque de talleres (Workshop trandes, exchange of knowledge).
  • To explore the concept of  human and non human agents based on Bruno Latour (2005) ideas  and some others post humanist thinkers. One of my main concern is about the ontology of the agents . How can we value agency ? For this edition, I used as parameter “attributes” as a way to deploy trades between participants.
  • to apply the the actor network theory. So far I have been notice that there are more doubts about how to apply ANT (2005) as method, than proposals. So this exercise is a inquiry that I would like to discuss later in Reassembling the social reading group *( Open monthly meetings that I organize online)

Trueque” is a system of exchange in which participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money, The concept is originally from pre-colombian cultures.

For this edition of the trueque experience, I will create a bookwork/game board. I do considered the artifact as the facilitator of the workshop, so would prefer to named it “Geppeto

During this workshop experience we will exchange human and non-humans agents based on their attributes for PLINTH exhibition project. PLINTH is organized by Baart Gert, Together with five more colleges We will explore the exposition and exhibition possibilities for artistic research. There will be 3 iteration of the project for the next months. The first exhibition will be hosted by Luca School of arts at C-mine in Belgium. The project inquire, as well , in online and offline formats , so who knows where are we gonna remediate Trueque again.

As I am living in Mexico city, I have designed this paper prototype and proof on concept, Both project were played at different moments, several times with people in a coffee shop close to my place here ( “El cafe” ) This too place between the 20 of March and 15 of April 2020

There are some questions that have been around my mind, at the time I was designing this experience. Those were not meant to be answered perse, rather they are guide questions for participants and readers to keep mind

  • What is a human and not a human agent ?
  • Do human and non-humans share the same ontological value ?
  • What do we, as community, value when we have to trades different kind of agency ?
  • What would be the most fair way to exchange humans and non-humans agents?
  • What is our relationship with the other objects?

Participants and duration:
The experience last as along the artifacts (posters and boards) are displayed,
Everybody is welcome to participate as many times they wish.

INSTRUCTION (First iteration, paper prototype):

  1. All participants write down or draw a human or nonhuman agent in five blank card. One agent per card. This could be a biological agent, (Ex. an ant), a process ( Ex. kissing strangers in the street ) or an artifact ( Ex.a cellphone )
  2. Drop all the cards in the box of existence and shuffle the cards
  3. Take nine cards randomly and display those on the Trueque board
  4. One participant, Take one card from the box 
  5. Exchange this card with one the cards that are already displayed in the Trueque board. The exchange should be based on one attribute that both objects share. For example, you can exchange the Caribbean sea, for meant ice cream, both of them are turquoise;  or you can exchange your best lover for a piece of meat.
    Participant can also add attributes to those objects when this is not explicitly written down on the card or it doesn’t contradict the natural state of those objects.  For example: All sunflowers are yellow (this is a natural state) but not all the roses are roses. I will exchange the card label rose for my best lover named Rose. 
  6. If you add an attribute to those agents,  You should write it down in the back of the card. From now on, this value (attribute) should be considered for future exchanges. The name of my best lover card will be Rose.  She will never be Rita
  7. Write your exchange and why you did that exchange: Vinicius /  sonora lithium desert  for a cell phone battery . 
  8. Next participant inherit the previous card.

This paper prototype was played between 3 participants. We modify it around 3 times with small variants on the rules set. For example, I noticed that the game flow was improved by inheriting the last card picked by the last player. Therefore participant in turn cannot have a full control on what is the next move
Also I realize that this is a storytelling game like , so when you play it between people at the same time, it creates a sort feeling of community. People start to introduce elements from their personal life or they start to co-create fantastic stories between them.

One of the main concern was when to stop.

The board can be extended , but I think is better to keep it smaller and simple. Maybe when there are more participants would be interesting to extend the board.

Back side:
A mi mejor amigo se le murio un hijo [the son of my best friend dies] | El viento le recuerda la muerte [the wind remebers him death]| ese dia aparecio saturno[ that day Saturn appeared ] | origina el mito del ojo [and it originates the eye myth]| Da forma un globo aeroestatico [ it forms like an aerostatic balloon ]

INSTRUCTION (Second iteration, game installation):

  1. Take one agent (card) randomly from the box
  2. Exchange your agent for another in the Trueque board. The exchange should be based on one attribute that both agents share. For example, you can exchange the Caribbean sea, for meant ice cream, both of them are turquoise; or you can exchange your best lover for a piece of meat.
    Note. Once an object is set with an attribute, it is set for future exchanges. Now we know the Caribbean sea is not green, it is turquoise and your lover is not a plastic doll or a dildo.
  3. Write down on the blank side of both cards, the attributes that link both objects . Link stories.
    For example. The caribean sea is turquoise *(other card) Such a delicious ice cream , it remember me the color of the sea of my childhood in Cuba
  4. Place the new agent in the board
  5. Put the other in the box,
  6. Exchange this card with one the cards that are already displayed in the Trueque board.
  7. Comeback soon and check how your story evolve.

For this edition We include abstract symbols or drawings, such as “” no equal or “∴” therefore , a black square or the typographical characters as a single “A” .
Do people will return to see how their stories evolves ? will they feel curious about who else intervene their stories ? would they be interested to meet some other players ?

By the moment I am waiting to see how does this project evolves. I will leave the installation for a week . I hope to get soon more result of this project

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