Gift

Jennifer Tee & Jonas Ohlsson

Exhibition Dates
3 -26 November 2005

Jennifer Tee and Jonas Ohlsson will be making a site-specific collaborative installation and performance project that will utilise the ideas of gift-giving and re-situate these paradigms into the contemporary site of cultural production, entrenching economic anthropology and contemporary cultural production into a contingency for change.

Overview

Jennifer Tee and Jonas Ohlsson take their inspiration from the early 20th century French sociologist Marcel Mauss, whose critical work, The Gift (1925), was perhaps the most important refutation of the assumptions behind economic theory ever written. Today, at a time when 'the free market' is being pushed down everyone's throat as both a natural and inevitable product of human nature, Mauss' work - which demonstrated not only that most non-Western societies did not work on anything resembling market principles, but that neither do most modern Westerners - is more relevant than ever.

 

On the basis of empirical examples from a wide range of societies, Mauss describes the obligations attendant to gift-giving: the obligation to give gifts, the obligation to receive them, and the obligation to return the gift. Gift-giving is steeped in morality. By giving, one shows one's self as generous and deserving of respect; by receiving, one shows respect to the giver and concomitantly displays ones own generosity via the obligation to return the gift, showing honor to the original giver. This process of giving, receiving and returning gifts ensures that a moral bond is made between the persons exchanging gifts.

 

Jennifer Tee and Jonas Ohlsson will be making a site-specific collaborative installation and performance project that will utilise the ideas of gift-giving and re-situate these paradigms into the contemporary site of cultural production, entrenching economic anthropology and contemporary cultural production into a contingency for change.

 

Jennifer Tee & Jonas Ohlsson have undertaken an Artspace International Visual Arts Studio Residency Project that has been generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation

Jennifer Tee & Jonas Ohlsson, 'Gift', installation view, Artspace, Sydney, 2005