The Decapitation of Money

In this installation, you are standing at the heart of a bicephalous space reflecting Goldin+Senneby’s main research led during their residency in Paris. Here, two historical events from the late 1930’s and early 50’s are confronted.
In one of these spaces, you find yourself reading a map of the Marly forest where Georges Bataille’s secret society, « Acéphale », was meeting around 1937 and notably celebrating Louis XVI’s regicide.
A few years later, Georges Bataille wrote La Part maudite (1949). In this essay on economy, he describes a society of abundance and eternal excess where in return potlatch techniques and sacrifice were necessary forms of luxurious consumption.
Nearly at the same time, in the early 1950’s at the very beginning of the Cold War, you are witnessing the emergence of Eurodollar, when Soviet and Chinese banks deposited dollars in Europe, in Paris at the BCEN (EUROBANK), known today as VTB Bank. Thus, the Dollar escaped the US financial, territorial jurisdiction and the very nature of money changed from a symbolic value to
a virtual one. Money entered a new space of exteriority, beyond the control of the sovereign state.
Money was decapitated.

These are facts. Facts that are deeply entangled in a fictional narrative entitled Looking for Headless,
commissioned by artist duo Goldin+Senneby since 2007. In this detective story, involving a murder (by decapitation again), the narrator travels to the Bahamas looking for the offshore company called ‘Headless Ltd’. Looking for Headless is published as a ghost written serial novel based on raw material sent by the artists correspondences, dossiers, tapes – and by the different artistic presentations of the project since 2007 in the form of conferences, lectures, videos or exhibitions.
At the Kadist Art Foundation, Goldin+Senneby underline a tenuous but precise speculation: Is the emergence of the Eurodollar and the later offshore finance the exact void where money disappeared, performing a contemporary radical consumption announced by Bataille in La Part maudite?
And if so, can ‘Headless Ltd’ be a contemporary incarnation of Bataille’s secret society of the same
name, « Acéphale »? Are they just mere coincidences?

The artistic project Headless is an omnivorous structure, a multi-headed project in which artists Goldin+Senneby outsource its development to different characters in the novel and independent practitioners in reality: a ghostwriter, an economic geographer, a set designer, and even art institutions.

Since 2004, the artists Goldin+Senneby, comprised of Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby, have been working on an ongoing performative and rhizomatic project. Headless Ltd is the name of an offshore company located in the Bahamas that Goldin+Senneby appears to be researching. An investigation that allows them to analyze the virtuality of the financial, economic, and legal fabric and its impact on the reality of our contemporary society. The creation of these offshore spaces is described as a strategy of withdrawal from the public sphere, the secret place of a possible fiction. This project takes shape through the intervention of different people such as Angus Cameron, an English geographer and economist, or John Burlow, whom the artists hired to write a detective fiction Looking for Headless - this documentary novel is written as the project evolves. It is therefore a fiction based on real facts: the places, the societies and the characters exist. We discover both the world of offshore companies and the different forms of presentation of the project. Like the “withdrawal” made by these offshore companies in the real economy, the artists do not appear publicly. They are represented in turn by actors, an author, economic specialists, or exhibition curators. The role of the artist-author deliberately escapes them.