SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Money Lab #6 – „Infrastructures of money“
Donnerstag, 07. - Freitag, 08. März 2019 Organisiert by Carolin Gerlitz, Sebastian Gießmann, Inte Gloerich, Geert Lovink and Ronja Trischler.


MoneyLab #6 Conference

Infrastructures of Money

University of Siegen | 7-8 March 2019


The MoneyLab network was founded by the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam. MoneyLab considers, critiques and intervenes within our new digital economy. It is a network of artists, activists, and geeks experimenting with forms of financial democratisation in contexts such as crowdfunding, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, cashless society, and Universal Basic Income. We question persistent beliefs, from Calvinist austerity, growth, and up-scaling, to trustless automated decision-making and freedom on the dark web, from (anarcho-)capitalist dreams of the days of yore to the special sauce of neoliberal entrepreneurialism and its right-wing libertarian counterparts.

The black box of finance has been etched into the imagination of the public and there has rarely been a more generous context to manifest working alternatives for the 99%. Cooperative platforms, decentralised technologies and direct democracy movements indicate profound attempts to rebalance the distribution of wealth and power. As resistance towards poverty, precarity, tax havens, algorithmic speculation, and financial crimes grows, the challenge ahead is to find ways to improve and sustain such financial experiments and to intervene in current debates both inside and outside of our established political systems.

Before arriving in Siegen, MoneyLab has included 5 international conferences and 2 globally distributed readers:

MoneyLab #1 – Coining Alternatives: Amsterdam, 2014

MoneyLab #2 – Economies of Dissent: Amsterdam, 2015

MoneyLab Reader: An Intervention in Digital Economy, 2015

MoneyLab #3 – Failing Better: Amsterdam, 2016

MoneyLab Reader #2: Overcoming the Hype, 2018

MoneyLab #4 – Art, Culture, and Financial Activism: London, 2018

MoneyLab #5 – Matters of Currency: Buffalo, NY, 2018

Call for Contributions-MoneyLab #6 [ended]


Thursday, 7 March 2019


Doors open & registration


10:00 - 12:30

Moderation: Geert Lovink

Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall

Anthropology of Money

Sociality, like everything else, can be monetised. Are we in need of a new general monetary theory? Money is as much a question of practice as it is of social infrastructure. Things are bought and sold. Money changes hands. The anthropology of money has a long tradition of exploring these localised practices of exchange through ethnographic inquiries into the relations between money, gift and credit. The quantified data units of platforms and their new digital tokens of value introduce new standards of exchange and challenge anthropologists to account for situated practices and global infrastructures at the same time. How do these changing infrastructures alter monetary practices and our account of value?


    • Erhard Schüttpelz: For the Love of Money: A Braudelian Perspective



    • Anna Echterhölter: New Governmental Money. From Rationing Cupons to Refugee Credit



    • Jens Schröter: Society after Money: A Project



    • Akseli Virtanen (Economic Space Agency): The Politics and Economics of Crypto-Enabled Infrastructures for the New Economy


12:00 - 13:00

Lunch Buffet

Combined with an opening of “The Attention Fair” by Julia Janssen at 12:30, room US-A 234

13:30 - 15:30

Moderation: Patricia de Vries

Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall

Aesthetics of Financial Flows

There is a rich tradition of visualising financial flows going all the way back to the 1920s. In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, understanding the often opaque operations of finance suddenly became more urgent. Visualisation practices have since been taken up by a broad array of artists and activists. By following internet cables, dissecting financial architecture, and mapping the timelines of flash crashes, these maps have given us renewed insights into a notoriously complex and incredibly high speed sector. But what do we do after the mapping is over? Are there routes from the visual to the political? How can knowledge of these systems lead to new regulation, local action and increased agency?


    • Rybn.org - Speculative algorithmic trading



    • Chris Anderson, Angeles Briones, Michele Mauri: Fog of Finance? Visualising Offshore and the Aesthetics of Uncertainty



    • Vienne Chan, Giulia dal Maso: Inspirations from the Periphery: A Speculative Counter-Approach to Carry-trade Activity



    • C-2: Ownership Experiment – Partial Art Auction


15:30 - 16:00 Coffee  

16:00 - 18:00

Moderation: Sebastian Gießmann

Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall

Finance, Automation and Surveillance

Financial surveillance is still on its way up. Though practices of surveillance date back to the 19th century, there is a new intensity and ubiquity to them today. Think of transnational transparency regimes (Basel III), think of new EU regulations concerning identification in payments technologies, think of credit card transaction leaks that are quickly de-anonymised by researchers. These developments foreground the fact that technologies of accounting, scoring, and subjectivation are at the core of digital and mobile network media now. How can we think about the new distributedness and temporalisation of monetary practices? And how does machine learning transform monetary valuation, algo-trading, fintech platforms, their APIs, and financial decision-making? As regimes that automatically intervene in real-time transactions, such technologies establish, perpetuate, and remediate “orders of worth”. Of course, this desire for automation has been part of every computerisation movement. But we also recognise that money often serves as a medium of heteromation and dis-automation. Financial surveillance is frequently accompanied by infrastructural frictions and calls for accountability. We want to hear about


    • Josh Lauer: On the Datafication of Money: How the Payment Card Became a Technology of Consumer Surveillance



    • Rachel O´Dwyer: Cashing Out and Keeping Account: A Politics of Transactional Dataveillance



    • Armin Beverungen: Cognition, Calculation and Collectivity in Algorithmic Capitalism



    • Karin Knorr-Cetina: Posthuman Financial Markets: The Rise of Algorithms in Finance


Friday, 8 March 2019

10:00 - 12:00

Moderation: Ronja Trischler

Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Blockchains Beyond Fintech

Beyond the cryptocurrency hype of the last decade, the underlying principles and technologies known as the blockchain have now become widely dispersed. From health to academic research, energy to governance, copyright law to fine art, actors and organisations in various social fields are exploring the blockchain. Unleashed from its niche origins in cryptography and electronic currency, the blockchain’s data decentralisation is now held up as the solution for every problem. Sustainable energy? Blockchain! Higher quality research? Blockchain! Fairer globalisation? Blockchain! Blockchain! Blockchain!

Today the blockchain is everywhere. But just as important as its ubiquity is its perceived maturity. No longer the risky venture of the startup or the experimental tinkering of cypherpunks, blockchains are quickly becoming part of commercial platforms with significant investment that implement the concept at scale. Alongside these corporate implementations, the blockchain has also found its way into civil society, grassroots initiatives, NGOs, and art institutions. Yet the ‘blockchain’ is ambiguous and open-ended. Whether impressive, peculiar, or even corrupt, each implementation asserts its own version of what a decentralised data practice means and what it should be used for. In this varied landscape, the tensions that make up its ‘trustless’ transactions—secure and transparent yet anonymous—become blurry or sometimes even mutually exclusive. In practice, excluding trust might require consent, or registration might trump anonymity. As new flavours and understandings of the blockchain proliferate, how can the blockchain be used “for the good”? And what are the real sociotechnical problems we need to address?


    • Emanuele Braga: Infrastructures for future ecosystems



    • Martín Nadal & César Andaluz: Critical Mining: Blockchain and Bitcoin in Contemporary Art



    • Oliver Leistert: Object-oriented Scarcity as a Technology of Governmentality



    • Sarah Friend, Saraswathi Subbaraman (Circles): CirclesUBI: Towards a Community-owned Basic Income


12:00 - 13:00 Lunch Buffet  
13:00 - 15:00


    • Economic Space Agency: The Feel of the Infrastructure: Engineering New Economic Spaces / Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Lecture Hall


    • Martín Nadal & César Escudero Andaluz: BitCoin of Things (BoT). Theory and practice Workshop / Room: Unteres Schloß, US-A 134


    • Rachel O’Dwyer: Forgotten, Failed, Fictional: Research Methods for Fintech / Room: Unteres Schloß, US-A 234


15:00 - 15:30 Coffee

15:30 - 17:30

Moderation: Carolin Gerlitz

Room: Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Monetizing the Social - Socialising Money

The monetisation of the social is proliferating far beyond the crude ad-based models on early social media platforms. From influencer marketing on Instagram to third party app economies built on platforms and the constant re-valorisation of social media data in rankings, ratings and analytics, we ask how emergent digital infrastructures monetise the social today. At the same time, we seem to be witnessing an emerging socialisation of money, from financial literacy communities to DIY investment schemes and financial products that cut out the middleman of the bank. How will our social lives be the foundation of new economic models and how is the socialisation of money informing the financial sector?


    • Nate Tkacz: Designerly Banking and The Securitization of Experience



    • Tom McDonald, Li Dan: “Pulling sheep’s wool”: Digital Money, Online Thriftiness and Organizational Misbehaviour in a Chinese Factory



    • Johannes Paßmann: Mundane Valuation: Co-Creating Objects, Subjects and Media in Social Media



    • Crystal Abidin: Influencers and the Commodification of Everyday Life: Brief Histories from Blogshops, Instagram, and tumblr



Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen (Unteres Schloss 1, 57072 Siegen)

The conference takes place in the building marked with a red „M“ on the map. It’s right next to Campus Unteres Schloss (US). Find directions here.

Please mind that the building is up a little hill. It takes approximately two minutes to climb. There is an elevator for public use hidden in an underground parking garage: "CONTIPARK Tiefgarage Unteres Schloss" at Obergraben, just south of the museum.



Getting to Siegen

For general information about getting to Siegen, find directions here.

By air. The airports closest to Siegen are Cologne/Bonn (CGN)Düsseldorf (DUS), and Frankfurt (FRA) as a major hub. They all have good train connections to Siegen (ca. 2 hours). Train schedules can be found at www.bahn.com.


Getting around

Public transport in Siegen is organized by bus. Cabs can be booked, e.g., by calling Funk Taxi GmbH at +49 (0)271 33 50 11. Most destinations within the city centre, however, are also easily accessible by foot.

For going out, check the Siegen Guide and ask a local for recommendations.



Sebastian Gießmann: giessmann@medienwissenschaft.uni-siegen.de

Ronja Trischler: ronja.trischler@uni-siegen.de

Carolin Gerlitz: carolin.gerlitz@uni-siegen.de

For questions about the event, please email: moneylab@uni-siegen.de

Further information:

or questions about the event, please email: moneylab@uni-siegen.de.

We can issue letters of invitation to help you apply for travel grants.

URL: https://www.networkcultures.org/moneylab/events/moneylab-6

Twitter handle: #inframoney

For more information about the event, please visit: 



Attendance of the conference is free of charge.

Please register at moneylab@uni-siegen.de


Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Unteres Schloss 1
57072 Siegen