If You Are So Smart, Why Aint You Rich? (2014)

On the Economics of Knowledge

Official parallel project of the 5th Marrakech Biennale


Artists: Gilles Aubry and Zouheir Atbane, Younes Baba AliTal Isaac HadadAnne Duk Hee JordanBrandon LaBelleMarco Montiel-SotoEmeka OgbohAli Tnani & Lukas TrunigerPaolo Bottarelli and Evgenija Wassilew
Curators: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Pauline Doutreluingne
Curatorial assistants: Gauthier Lesturgie, Anneli von Klitzing


If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? is first and foremost an exhibition project that pays tribute to the African-American minimalist composer genius and artist Julius Eastman, and secondly a project that questions through artistic reflection the place and confluence of knowledge and economics within society. For this project, twelve international artists working primarily with sound and installations as their main medium of expression and whose works can be seen within the framework of artistic research are invited to cogitate and position themselves within “Knowledge Societies”.
As we find ourselves in the middle of an economic crisis, which tends out to be a consequence of a crave for wealth, an avarice rather than wisdom; as we find ourselves in an age where the distribution of wealth and the distribution of intelligence, as well as their relationship with one another seem to be at the crux of society’s contemporary negotiations; as we witness the slow overtake of economical power by the BRICS countries, If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? comes in handy as a starting point to deliberate on the weighting of knowledge and economics, the tendencies towards “Knowledge(able) Societies” and the price one has to pay to obtain, maintain, and propagate “Knowledge(able) Societies”.
It is important to mention that knowledge in this context is not limited to the Western “Monoculture of scientific knowledge”, but “an ecology of knowledges”, as described by Boaventura de Sousa Santos in the introduction of Another Knowledge is Possible.
If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? investigates also the objective materiality of sound and sonorous experience that goes beyond just a transcription into language’s materiality. It explores how sound becomes haptic, tactile and textual in society, politics and economics and more especially in the framework of the arts.

Tal Hadad, Piano Préparé, sculpture, 2014 Courtesy by the artist
Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Obsidian, 2014 Installation, variable dimensions (Engine device, pedestals, stones) Photograph by Matthias Matschke
Ali Tnani and Lukas Truniger, Crackling Data Machine, 2014 Multimedia installation, variable dimensions Courtesy by the artists