n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..


Sunday, 02. March 2014 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Crowdfunding: Monetizing the Crowd?


Crowdfunding: Monetizing the crowds?

Not so very long ago the social ‘welfare states’ of Europe[1] provided health care for everyone and a sizeable amount of money for culture, which was generated from tax revenue. Many artists and cultural practitioners had the opportunity to apply for grants, supplemented by patronage, sponsorship, selling their work, or even having jobs. The contemporary discourse in the cultural sector has now shifted and takes its cues from neoliberal policies of management, adopting an ‘everything for the market’ attitude. This has led to Europe’s assimilation of a U.S. inspired laissez-faire approach to culture, and subsequently transformed cultural practices into the burgeoning imagination of the ‘creative industries’. This is marked by a particular condition of state withdrawal of financial support for culture while emergent forms of online, networked platforms increasingly facilitate private donations. For example, electronic money transfers using digital technologies have enabled micro-finance networks that restructure the funding support and patronage earlier available to cultural practitioners. These have ensured an even quicker transfer of the private wealth of citizens to individuals within the cultural sector, such as with the phenomenon of ‘crowdfunding’.[2]

Wednesday, 11. December 2013 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Monetizing the Crowds


In Marxist theory capitalism is unified through the exchange of commodities that mediate the interaction between people and their relations. Unlike feudal societies where people interacted subjectively and were familiar, in capitalism the producers of the products of labour in the factory are invisible and anonymous, and people relate to each other through the ‘universal equivalent’ or ‘money form’. [1] The social relations, then, appear as material objects or things, along with money as a fetishized commodity as a result of the reifying effects of this universalised trade in commodities. Nowadays, with the increasing advancement of digital technologies, microfinance enables monetary exchanges between willing and known parties through crowdfunding campaigns.