Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Carey Young -Donor Card
Frieze 2009

Impossible Exchange (curated by Filipa Oliveira + Miguel Amado) Frieze Projects

“Carey Young once wrote that she explores ‘how the artist’s role, agency and identity could or might need to change in response to the collapsing categories between business, politics and culture’. She has been appropriating corporate ideology and manipulating it in order to examine the era of global capitalism. Recently, she has focused on the law apparatus and its realtionship to civil government. For example, with the assistance of a legal team, she once created a United-States-Constitution-free zone within a New York-based gallery. Contractual agreements with the visitor have been one fo Young’s major strategies, and Donorcard (2005 –ongoing) is one of the works that better represents this aspect of her practice. Wallet-size human organ donor cards in general, and the design of such a document issued by the British NHS in particular, inspired Young in the making of this work. Each time it is on view, Young previously signs a limited edition of Donorcards copies, which are free to take and also have to be signed by the viewer in order to become art, a status that will last only while both of them are alive. In a new instalment of its preservation, for Frieze Projects Young is signing the work at the booth during the VIP preview of FAF. bringing together the language of jurisdiction, authorship, and rituals of collecting, Young comments on the forms of power ruling the art world.

Donorcard was created with the assistance of a legal team comprising Robert Lands of Finers Stephens Innocent LLP and Dr. Jaime Stapleton of Birkbeck College.”

"Mining institutional critique, community-based movements, self-organization traditions, and activism, their proposals address the production of symbolic value in the “age of questioned capitalism” – an expression suggested by the global financial crises. Through their socially engaged practice “impossible exchange” establishes a counter-public sphere that radically envisions change on the economic, political, and cultural levels."

Carey Young Donor Card

By principle in Portugal everyone is an organ donor unless one manifests the will against it to the health ministry (RENNDA) in a system of contracting/out, thus taking advantage of people's natural inertia the country has an enormous potential donors list . In the UK we have a completely different approach, one has to join organ donation. Hence the former has a non donors card, while the latter a donor card.

uk donor card
Politically, we can say in the Portuguese case that the state (even though one has the possibility to sign out) is taking the decision for the citizens by presuming that everyone would want to be an organ donor, whilst in the UK the citizens are accounted for the decision, but then the state has to campaign for people to meet that responsibility. Uk's example seems the most democratic to me, in an horizon of a social responsible society were our relation to others - human beings and not - is constantly being activated and reevaluated, but I also know that most of the time we function in automatic pilot, and that's why the Portuguese example might be more effective for the case presented, but then what does that tell us about a more general political engagement?

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