Christin Lahr – MACHT GESCHENKE: DAS KAPITAL
Award of Distinction
Since May 25, 2009, I have been making daily money transfers of one cent to the German Federal Ministry of Finance, thus helping to counter the growing mountain of debt in homeopathic doses. In the field »reason for payment«, I always write 108 characters from Capital: A Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx. In this way, bit by bit, the entire text of the book will be transferred into the state’s central account via online banking. The transmission of the roughly 1,696,500 characters will take about 43 years. The necessary transfer sum of 15,709 cents will enter the state’s budget as an economic capital gain of the same amount. The value increase of the capital investment through interest and compound interest is not even included, nor are the required labor and lifetime or the added value through cultural and symbolic capital calculated into this.
DAS KAPITAL, which inscribes itself irrevocably into accounts and archives, is a donation to the entire people, entered into the state budget of the FRG, administered by the currently elected representatives, and safely stored at the Bundesbank. If the national debt could be frozen at the current amount of 1,746,599,197,210 Euros, my donation, due to the exponential effects of interest and compound interest, could pay this debt off within 300 years. Each of the 15,709 money transfers is documented per screenshot, printed out once on document paper, signed, and then in the course of the project given away to individual citizens standing for the population as a whole. At the same time, in »over-drawings« on translucent paper, I cross out character by character and thus produce, analogously to the book, an unreadable notation of Capital, consisting of counting marks and numerals. At the end of this project, there will be a cumulative capital gain and added value in several respects, which cannot be expressed with numbers and characters alone. CAPITAL PRESENTS: CAPITAL counteracts the ruling political economy and senseless, degrading bureaucratism with the gesture of giving, and poses the question of meaning. The system sees itself in the mirror. Once a day, the micro-donations upset the state’s balance sheet—for about the length of one breath. They serve as triggers for a debate on values that produces continuous reflections and echoes to provoke sustained thinking.