<aside> 💡 The Collective Reading format was developed by Joanna Pope at Trust.


The gift operates as a power stronger than even military or economic power. The universal rule of law is sustained not by violence but by the power of the gift. The world republic will be established in this way.

— ‘The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange’ by Kojin Karatani, 2014

Black Swan share their collective project researching and experimenting with ways of giving artists control over funding, value, and decision making. We will read and discuss extracts of All Power to the {Historical} Imagination! by McKenzie Wark, a summary of Kojin Karatani’s The Structure of World History, to explore new thinking about trans-local collaboration and sustainable economics.

Established in 2018, Black Swan is a Berlin-based collective pursuing horizontal and decentralized approaches to the traditional art world templates for art making. Through peer support, artist-led funding and community organizing, they place resources into the hands of the users rather than the gatekeepers of the arts.

Black Swan is developing digital toolkits for artists through a methodology that puts play at the center. Existing communities of creative practitioners are invited to test and experiment with forms of interaction, modes of organization, and sustainable economic models in role-playing events, working groups, and hackathons. Through play, Black Swan is building an open-source and interoperable protocol for artistic communes, which will enable collaborative institutional forms and allow for a redefinition of what art can be. Launching in 2022, the Black Swan DAO aims to become a translocal and mutable source for distributing resources and value differently across interdependent art worlds.

Black Swan is currently maintained by Laura Lotti, Penny Rafferty, Calum Bowden, and Leïth Benkhedda.

Full text:

All Power to the {Historical} Imagination! - Public Seminar

More info:

Trust - Black Swan


From means of production to modes of exchange — a world-system approach

Kojin Karatani’s The Structure of World History (Duke University Press, 2014) is an astonishing work of synthetic historical theory. Karatani views world history as a history of modes of exchange. He rejects the classical Marxist view of history as a history of modes of production, to which political, religious and cultural levels are superstructures.