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The Kula Ring: Aesthetic Considerations of Sharing and Exchange 
17 August – 4 September 2016 

An art event initiated by the Goethe-Institut Singapore

As part of the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2016

How is »the sharing game« played in other parts of the world? Are there cultures of commerce that do not rely on the principle of profit? Is it possible to trace back the nowadays propagated ideas of commons and sharing economy to much older practices?

The Kula Ring art exhibition is based on a ritual exchange of gifts among inhabitants of the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea. Today, necklaces made of little red shells still circulate clockwise from island to island. The meaning of these artistic objects is unknown. They are highly valuable but not sellable.

This ancient cultural practice called »kula« is being taken up by artists from around the world and given a visual and tactile dimension through aesthetic means of expression. Their works question conventional ideas of trade, value, exchange and profit and put the meaning of creative production and the sale of art up for discussion. They have produced art works of many forms: found items, swapped objects, photographs, exotic spices and ancient Asian dishes.

How is the sharing game played out today by individual artists from diverse parts of the world?  What are the potentialities embedded in the gifts/objects and the actions/exchanges of the Kula Ring?  Can we rethink circulation and currency without the commerce and profit propagated by our supposedly rational economic system?

This art event was initiated by the Goethe-Institut Singapore, curated by Alfons Hug, for the Kultursymposium Weimar 2016.  It premieres in Asia at the Singapore International Festival of Arts, with an added performative component in collaboration with Festival Director Ong Keng Sen.

With works by

Renata de Bonis | Brasilia

Newell Harry | Australia

Samuel Herzog | Switzerland

Roslisham Ismail | Malaysia

Reynier Leyva Novo | Cuba

Donna Ong | Singapore

Post-Museum | Singapore

Thomas Rentmeister | Germany

Alfons Hug I Curator I Germany

The exhibition website is accesible HERE. Entry to the exhibition is free.

You are cordially invited to join the Opening Night of the Exhibition on 17 August, Wednesday from 7pm to 10pm. No RSVP required.

For further enquiries, please contact Goethe Institut at arts@singapur.goethe.org

For more information about the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2016 please refer to: www.sifa.sg