Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bank on it!

Time/Bank currency design: Lawrence Weiner
Photo: Julieta Aranda

e-flux is pleased to launch Time/Bank: a platform initiated by Julieta Aranda & Anton Vidokle, where groups and individuals can pool and trade time and skills, bypassing money as a measure of value. Time/Bank is based on the premise that everyone in the field of culture has something to contribute and that it is possible to develop and sustain an alternative economy by connection existing needs with unacknowledged resources.

The origins of time-based currency can be traced both to the American anarchist Josiah Warren, who ran the Cincinnati Time Store from 1827 until 1830, and to the British industrialist and philanthropist Robert Owen, who founded the utopian "New Harmony" community which banned money. The first successful contemporary time bank was started in 1991 by Paul Glover in Ithaca, New York. Following his idea, people began to exchange time, which led to the creation of a time-based currency—the "Ithaca Hours," which even local businesses began to accept, and which still flourishes. Time banking and service exchange have since developed into a full-fledged movement, usually centered around local communities.

Time/Bank at e-flux is modeled on existing time banks. Every Time/Bank transaction will allow individuals to request, offer, and pay for services in "Hour Notes." When a task is performed, the credit hours earned may be saved and used at a later date, given to another person, or contributed towards developing larger communal projects. For example, if you happen to be in Beijing or Hamburg and need someone to help you shop for materials or translate a press release, you would be able to draw on resources from Time/Bank without exchanging any money.

Through Time/Bank, we hope to create an immaterial currency and a parallel micro-economy for the cultural community, one that is not geographically bound, and that will create a sense of worth for many of the exchanges that already take place within the art field—particularly those that do not produce commodities and often escape the structures that validate only certain forms of exchange as significant or profitable.

To open a time bank account, please register at

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