June 17 2010

 “Today we don’t use the word ‘Recession’ was a new artwork created by Superflex for the National Sculpture Factory commission for Cork Midsummer Festival in 2010.

 Date: Thurs 17th June 2010
Place: Cork City
Time: All Day

Ireland is entering into a new era since the predicable but untimely death of the Celtic Tiger economy, once lauded as the fastest growing economy in the world. This great Celtic-Tiger economy driven by liberal bank regulation, bad political governance and a reliance on speculative property development led house prices in Ireland to rise by almost 520% in 15 years. Now the Irish GDP is shrinking faster than in any other advanced economy. The average Irish family has lost half its financial assets and unemployment has risen faster than anywhere else in Europe.We moved from the poster child of the globalised free-market to one of the great European basket cases, as one of our economic commentators was recently quoted as saying.

These are extraordinary times. And it is into this economic environment that Superflex crafted this ‘tool’ or gesture for self-reflection and contemplation.

Supeflex, the Danish art collective, founded by Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger and Bjrnstjerne Christiansen in 1993, refer to their practice simply as a set of tools, where often there is just an invitation to direct action and participation. Throughout their practice viewers become co-producers, shifting focus away from art objects to relationships where the limits of an artwork can be defined and modified by its users.
This particular strategy for legal contract-making is borne out of their own experiences openly challenging public and private copyright laws which have led to complex legal negotiations, police raids and at times equipment being impounded. Thus by usurping the contractual rigours enforced upon them, Supeflex have engaged in a new series of propositions: contracts as active proposals which can be understood as political acts applied under the duress of specific public and social contexts like the ANZ bank in Auckland, New Zealand or with the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen.

For this new work, TODAY WE DONT USE THE WORD RECESSION, Superflex and the then Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Dara Murphy, executed a contract with the city, a formal decree, asking the citizens of Cork to refrain from using the word ‘recession’ for one full day Thurs 17th June 2010. There was no punitive action for non-compliance, as was the case in previous projects. Rather the citizens of Cork were given the opportunity to engage in a collective way with their own position and condition within this new economic climate.



Through the power of positive thought and collective action, Lord Mayor Cllr. Dara Murphy decrees that for one day, to lift ourselves out of the doom and gloom the citizens of Cork should refrain from using the word ‘Recession’ the citizens of Cork are invited to join with the Lord Mayor in the collective ambition to help drive Cork out of recession and into recovery from this day forward. To kickstart this recovery the Lord Mayor requests on Thursday 17th June, 2010, that the people of Cork shall in all public utterances, statements and communications, replace the word ‘recession’ with alternative words or phrases. Citizens are asked to create their own new alternatives, thus contributing to re-imagining the future of the City of Cork.

And so recommend to the people of Cork under the Common Seal of the Lord Mayor.