VIENNA – The MAGAZIN, a renowned exhibition space for contemporary architecture, has been transformed into a conceptual “dollar” store for six weeks. This transformation is part of an exhibition called “Gag Economy,” a satirical take on the gig economy, which has been the subject of much debate and criticism in recent years.
The Gag Economy exhibition, running from June 16 to July 28, 2023, is a unique blend of humor and political commentary. It swings like a pendulum between amusing memes and pointed political propaganda, creating a space for laughter as a form of criticism and consumption as a reflection of our relationship with social media in a short-attention economy.
The term “gag economy” is a play on the term “gig economy,” a form of precarious labor that has been the subject of much debate. The gig economy, which includes multinational corporations like Uber and Doordash, has been criticized for its exploitative labor practices, including the lack of basic rights for workers, such as access to healthcare and holidays.
The exhibition aims to highlight these issues in a humorous yet thought-provoking way. By leaving the digital temporality of the phone screen and summoning the wastefulness and speed of fast-fashion, Gag Economy transforms MAGAZIN and later on Belvedere 21 into a display of wearable memes, slogans, and manifestos that can be worn to become a walking joke and a piece of interactive, human-scale anti-imperialist propaganda.
Behind Gag Economy is Dank Lloyd Wright, an activist collective operating anonymously from a half basement somewhere in Vienna. The collective, which describes itself as a “cum joke faction, center for ants, frog week enthusiast group, and book club,” has a unique approach to activism that includes humor and satire.
The exhibition will also feature a panel discussion on July 9, from 6–8pm, with Dank Lloyd Wright and guests, and a lecture by Andi Schmied on July 28, from 7–9pm.