Global Discourse and Local Practice

The idea that our lives and surroundings are increasingly affected by globalization has become a meaningless commonplace.The focus point is no longer to adapt to new socio-political and economic situations; rather, it is to scale our individuality and locality according to the inherently globalized state of the world. The complexities engendered by worldwide interconnection are often difficult to grasp - personal relations to or involvements with global events are generally the only moments when these larger intricacies become tangible.

ZK/U focuses on making the global processes and complexities that hold the world in their grip sensible and experienceable on a personal level through research and artistic practices. There is a need to explore new ways of designing global systems within the conditions specific to individual people and places. In the context of the financial crisis for instance, an alternative to the global finance market can be provided by experimenting with non-monetary economic alternatives for the exchange of goods, time and knowledge in the city. Artists, researchers, activists, and visionaries are needed to imagine and realize sustainable and independent formats for the exchange of financial means, public goods, and knowledge that are tangible on a personal and local level.

Our leading questions are:

How can we respond to and act upon the most pressing challenges of a globally connected world, in ways that are tangible, understandable and still reflect the complexity of larger systems?
How can we act locally within a global frame of mind?
How can we design for a new sustainable system of production of knowledge and public goods?
How can we bring diversity and local identities into our research and artistic practices?
Is it possible to imagine and create systems of development that radically challenge the current monotonous globalized economy?
What can a social-economic model of exchange look like? How do we integrate the public interests of different layers of society in the distribution of financial means, public goods, and knowledge?
What forms of non-monetary exchange of knowledge are there in the city?
Can we create sustainable and independent value exchange systems beyond the global finance market?