New currencies and free exchange: Art Barter & virtual VEN

Money makes the world go round but not in every case it seems, especially in the creative industries. During these tough times new ideas for currencies are popping up such as virtual global ones and systems of free exchange.

Art Barter logo

Art Barter was launched by London-based curators Lauren Jones and Alix Janta in November 2009. Art Barter is a system of exchange that encourages the trade of art for goods and services with no money changing hands. Not an entirely new concept as this is a familiar bargaining method for many famous artists of the past, it is revived for this new era of austerity. The artworks are bartered for at Art Barter shows happening around the world, the shows attract the more unconventional of buyers. The premise is: “What is a piece of art worth? A year of psychotherapy or piano lessons?” We imagine Art Barter shows must turn pretty bizarre in some trade offs.

VEN logo

I first came across the virtual global currency, VEN when reading about what goes on in the co-working communities of shared office spaces, for instance at part of the Hub Culture Network in London. VEN, also emerging in 2009 as a currency online, can be used to buy, share and trade knowledge, goods and services within the Hub Culture network. It is tipped as the only currency to be linked to the environment due to the introduction of carbon to the calculation price.

For years gamers and internet veterans have known about and no doubt traded Bitcoins amongst their peers online, free exchange is going on around us all the time. It would be interesting to see more examples of this trading system coming out of the creative sector.

Are these trends set to mark the end of money as we know it?…

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