A MODEST PROPOSAL (in a Black Box)
A film by Vermeir & Heiremans
In their film, A Modest Proposal (in a Black Box), Vermeir & Heiremans, who are also the film's protagonists, discuss a new financial model with a lawyer. Their dialogue, witnessed by the lawyer's assistant, focuses on the question if financialisation can be repurposed towards generating a more equitable arts ecology.
Considering the financialisation of public art collections, museum real estate and symbolic capital, the financial model should benefit not only investors and art institutions, but also its stakeholders, the creators of the art assets' value, the artists and art workers.
In the film the artists propose to financialise a specific building as their first case study: Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park. The gallery is located in the vicinity of the Battersea Power Station, a 20th century former coal-fired power station, currently under re-development. It will house Apple’s London headquarters and offers luxury apartments for sale, designed by Frank Gehry and Foster and Partners. All in all an excellent momentum to leverage rising values that surround the gallery, to ‘pump’ up the building’s value as an asset, and generate a return on investment for the wider art community.
The conversation between the artists and the lawyer takes place in Vermeir & Heiremans’ house, which in their practice they define as an art work. Meanwhile the seemingly absent-minded assistant often slips away from the discussions. She appears to be able to materialise and dematerialise at will the lofty space by caressing the walls, playing with the miniature furniture inside a scale model of the artists’ house or using the latter as a framing device, manipulating the window views.
When the artists and the lawyer go on to discuss and celebrate the proposal on the loft’s rooftop garden, glass of champagne in hand, she takes control…
Watch the film on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/290694804
HD Video, 28' 7", sound & colour, UK-Belgium, 2018
Vermeir & Heiremans as the artists
Luke Mason as the legal consultant
Heike Langsdorf as the assistant
Directors: Vermeir & Heiremans
Camera: Amir Borenstein
Editors: Katleen vermeir/Amir Borenstein
Sound: Justin Bennett
Organ Player: Cindy Castillo
Voice-over: Emily Rosamond
Script: vermeir & Heiremans/Luke Mason
Graphic design: Salome Schmuki
Animation: Amir Borenstein
Production: Jubilee vzw
With the support of:
The Flemish Community
Art et Recherche asbl
Pump House Gallery
Enable Leisure and Culture
Art Council England
Cockayne-Grants for the Arts
The London Community Foundation