Performing Economies colloquium

APRIL 4 -6, 2014 — Performing Economies was a 3-day colloquium event I co-organized with artist/scholar Paige Sarlin at the University at Buffalo. The event investigated the renewed interest in alternative economic models that have emerged in response to the devastating effects of the global economic downturn. Juxtaposing concerns for financial viability with the value of cultural activity and the necessity for environmental sustainability, Performing Economies focused on the performative, social, and political dimensions of urban revitalization initiatives. Questions as to how these increasingly visible systems of exchange build on earlier forms of barter, local currency, worker cooperatives, and mutual aid were brought to the forefront. The colloquium highlighted a range of projects and practices that re-evaluate older strategies of urban development and survival and suggest progressive and radical approaches to supporting the lives of individuals and communities.

Invited guests included international feminist scholar Silvia Federici, environmental artist Mary Mattingly, activist writer Renee Ridgway and Andrew Herscher, author of “The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit.” University at Buffalo faculty included critical geographer Marion Werner and Miriam Paeslack, author of “Ineffably Urban: Imaging Buffalo.” Local organizations included PUSH Buffalo, Go Bike Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Clean Air Coaliton and the Breadhive Workers Cooperative Bakery.