Value Quest Bourse

by Urtica

This work has been commented by 5 curator(s). Read the comments


Value Quest Bourse


An electronic allegory of Casino Capitalism

Concept author(s)

Eduard Balaz

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution


Concept author(s) Country


Other author(s)

Ivan Blagojevic

Other author(s) year(s) of birth


Other author(s) contribution

programer (software)

Other author(s) Country


Friendly Competition

Debt. (2012)

Competition category

Visual communication practice

Competition subcategory

web / interactive

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

Urtica Art Group (art practice)

Check out the Debt. 2012 outlines of Memefest Friendly competition.

Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

Powered by an input of online community, the Value Quest Bourse (VQB) brings an issue of value, labour and accumulation of capital in a digital era. A gameplay depicts the perpetual movement of the social-economic-aesthetical metamorphoses of value, a never ceasing conversion of value into some sort of capital (social, economic, or knowledge capital). Transfer your click-labour into social critique. Vote for Value. Revolve the wheel of Casino Capitalism. Keep the Value Quest Bourse alive! View demo video

What kind of communication approach do you use?

The VQB all-electronic platform performs as an art-game-simulation of socio-economic cycle that enables real-time aggregation of "social bourse" data (VQ Roulette), and over-the-counter financial instrument transaction with broad audience (VQ Perpetual Bond). In contrast to current Casino Capitalism that created a moral hazard problem by “privatizing profits and socializing losses”, a player of VQ roulette doesn't compete for own profits but for the common good—a community aggregated score of the VQ Industrial Sectors. Upon a selection of the sector and waged bet, an electronic roulette-based engine transfers users’ click-labour into bourse records. In order to fulfill future social capital requirements, the Value Quest Bourse issued the VQ Perpetual Bond to facilitate the quest for value in the time of crisis. This unique public debt security is based on an agreement or promise made by the bond-holder that he/she takes responsibility for the survival of identified value. Thus, the VQ Perpetual Bond gauging platform serves as an electronic repository of values submitted by a community. The performative over-the-counter transaction involves exchange of a value of one sort (subjective value of a visitor deposed at VQ gauging platform) for the value of another sort (an art value object, i.e., the online/or/printed VQ Perpetual Bond).

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

It is said: The way you work, for whom you work, makes who you are. The Value Quest Bourse points up: How you invest, where you invest, makes how the world will look like. Hence, a circuits of capital (knowledge and economic) and a circuits of class struggle are spinning the cycle of society/or/commerce, and every participant is influenced by the actions―reactions of the others. As Isaac de Pinto, an investor from the 18th century, stated long time ago “Commerce is a game, and nothing can be won from the beggars. If one wins everything from everybody all the time, it would be necessary to give back the greater part of the profit voluntarily, in order to begin the game again.”

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Through the in-depth of analysis of practical economy, we searched for similarities between art-simulacrum and market-simulacrum. The resemblance is specially characteristic for financial market which does not react upon objective reality but upon current views of how others perceived future behavior of the market. The value of asset, e.g., a capital asset or an artwork, depends on psychological trust in authority that stands behind it and the expectation of future profits flows. The confidence of other agents in the market enables assets to circulate and serve as a security of value. “More than most businesses, the survival of a securities firm depends on the confidence of investors and other dealers; without that confidence, the business unravels quickly,” stated an executive of an investment house that symbolized the fast-money era on Wall Street. Newer example is Facebook's "historic" overblown stock market launch with an expectation of $100 billion (bet rate 1:100). The expected profit was based on huge number of prosumers in the "Power Law Economy", Is Facebook to big to fall?

Read An essay on Value Quest Bourse: How to Survive in An Advantageous Dystopia?

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

Trough allegorical play public start to think more about economic mechanisms (to our big astonishment during the screening of this artwork we realized that people in general actually don't know much about the basic postulates of the economy)

It is amusing, e.g., at the exhibition setupThe Golden Card can be won as the main prize at the Value Quest Roulette.
See winners

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

Channels of communication:
Internet Web application:
Exhibition set up:
Special you tube action video:

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

newspapers, tv

Curators Comments

Scott Townsend

Well thought out and executed. One of the themes that has emerged this year in the competition is the use of game structures, both as a kind of metaphor (like Monopoly) and as (to a lesser extent) an actual well thought out series of user interactions through time.

This does a great job of thinking through user experience in a broad sense- not just how to make the interaction design "functional."

It pushes user experience further by getting a user to actually participate in a series of scenarios in the gaming.

The game metaphor of the roulette wheel is something that someone has to actually "play through" rather than just being a kind of visual parody.

Aleksandar Maćašev

I tend to think that the usage of humor/gaming softens the blow of a powerful message. Think of Slavoj Žižek’s lectures. A progressive force is sitting in the audience, which is rolling with laughter while hearing about a lot of issues that are not supposed to be taken lightly. OK, bitter medicine is easier to swallow with a bit of sugar. I find it important to discover that perfect ratio of irony/humor and the heavy stuff.

Urtica is known for its amazingly elaborate work and masterful usage of media. And the deployment of humor seems to be carefully measured. Games (gaming) are also very well known fortheir educational angle. To quote Isaac de Pinto: “Commerce is a game, and nothing can be won from the beggars. If one wins everything from everybody all the time, it would be necessary to give back the greater part of the profit voluntarily, in order to begin the game again.”

Although Urtica’s work (including this one) is set in the art world which is very well defined as another commodity machine (“The value of an asset, e.g., a capital asset or an artwork, depends on psychological trust in authority that stands behind it and the expectation of future profits flows.”), it doesn’t fail to provoke, entertain and yes, teach.

They summed it up pretty well themselves: “The Value Quest Bourse points up: How you invest, where you invest, makes how the world will look like.” It’s not about negating the system, it’s about turning the system on itself or at least using it for the common good.

Tony Credland

A very detailed and complex body of work that looks like it is part of a longer term project that has been worked on for some time with the gallery. This gives it a strong background and depth that i found very engaging, more and more information to read, listen to and understand.

Without seeing it in situ, which i think is important to this piece of work, it is all presented in a clear manner, with the combination of info graphics, video and actually getting prizes balancing well. It did make me want to know more and try harder to understand the concept, although i did get lost in some of the longer text!

Roderick Grant

The real effect of this work seems to be in the actual lived-experience of the installation/happening of the installation/exhibit. The web presence serves as a thorough documentation of the programme of the critique, but lacks the emotive impact of the participatory event. That said, what is here online is incredibly well thought out and detailed, and accomplishes much of the intents of the authors. The linkage of financial action (fictional or not) to immediate consequences is an urgently necessary characteristic in the game-play - it almost makes the site less allegorical and more direct, subversive and speculative in its own right.

Part of the stress of actual financial responsibility as outlined by recent works such as "The Hour Between Dog and Wolf" is in fact hardwired-biology; neuroscience. We act in response to stress in ways that are not entirely psychological, but rather quite physical. The web-presence misses this real physical stress which the live-event may have indeed encouraged for didactic ends. While what exists online serves to engage the cerebral side of the entire concept it lacks the visceral message of the flesh.

All in, this is a sophisticated and prescient critique of market driven economies, and a truly engaging proposal for an effective exhibition concept.

Jason Grant

This work was almost as opaque to me as the actual financial systems and instruments it allegorises. Which I suppose is the point.

The phrase 'casino capitalism' as an accusation/categorisation of the dominant economic system has been literalised as an online gambling den. The obfuscating jargon along with insistent market logic has been hijacked to critique its own crisis. In reality of course the metaphor is limited because although the markets are literally a gamble and confidence trick, structural privilege and disadvantage dictate who rolls the dice. The winners are the only ones playing the game and the losers are being played with. And there can be no winners without the luckless losers.

I enjoyed the project's ambition as well as the level of refined aesthetic detail. The crowded compositions mimic the data density of financial environments, evoking a pseudo-scientific authority. The iconography is fully convincing.

Some of the longer texts are nearly illegible due to the size and style of typography. Which is a shame because they are jammed with important ideas.