On the Next Economy

With Christopher Kulendran Thomas 6:00–8:00 p.m. CDT Edlis Neeson Theater
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Free admission

Christopher Kulendran Thomas, in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann, will present the corporate philosophy of New Eelam, a subscription-based housing service to launch in 2019. In installations and films, Thomas, an artist and the CEO of New Eelam, has described the company’s aim of transforming housing by enabling people to freely access and collectively own a global portfolio of real estate. In this lecture, he’ll elaborate on the economic and technological vision that animates New Eelam; he’ll speculate on the ways in which technology is changing how assets are owned, profits are prioritized, and companies are valued. How might these technologies be used to reshape global real-estate markets in order to establish a cooperative economic model that extends beyond national borders, and even to reimagine citizenship?

On the Next Economy is a component of “Parts of Speech,” an exhibition on public speech organized by Triple Canopy and Public Fiction with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition hinges on six experimental lectures, which will be live-streamed only at the museum; edited documentation will be available on Triple Canopy's website at a later date. “Parts of Speech” is being published by Triple Canopy as a series in Two Ears and One Mouth, a forthcoming issue that examines how we speak and listen and who has the right and capacity to be heard.

Parts of Speech is made possible in part through the generous support of the Stolbun Collection and Karyn Kohl and Silas Dilworth. Triple Canopy has received additional support for Two Ears One Mouth from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; and the Opaline Fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Federation and Endowment Fund.

  • Christopher Kulendran Thomas is an artist who lives in London and Berlin. His work manipulates the structural processes by which art produces reality. In his long-term project New Eelam, he asks how, in an age of technologically accelerated dislocation, citizenship might be conceived anew beyond national boundaries. Thomas is the founder and CEO of New Eelam, a real estate technology company that is developing a flexible, subscription-based service that grants access to (and collective ownership of) a stock of housing worldwide. The point of departure for the project is the unrealized possibility of Eelam, the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka that was wiped out in 2009 following a failed struggle for self-governance. Thomas recently has had solo exhibitions at Institute for Modern Art (Brisbane), Spike Island (Bristol) and Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm); in the fall of 2019, he'll have a solo exhibition at Schinkel Pavillon (Berlin). Thomas’s work has also been presented at the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Shenzhen); the Eleventh Gwangju Biennale; the Ninth Berlin Biennale; the third edition of the Dhaka Art Summit; and in exhibitions at the V-A-C Foundation for the 58th Venice Biennale, Tate Liverpool, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin), New Galerie (Paris), and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.