Too Big to Fail
In the framework of the exhibition “After Democracy” at Kunstraum Niederösterreich
“Too big to fail” is how politicians assess major banks during economic crises and why they claim that banks should be bailed out through public money. Banks are regarded as essential to the system; their poor performance can endanger the entire capitalist system.
In the piece “Too Big to Fail”, the four words “too big to fail” are installed on a 16.85-meter-long wall in Kunstraum Niederösterreich. The text’s letters consist of a photo showing people at a demonstration organized on March 28, 2009 in numerous cities around the world. The protestors marched under the common slogan: “We will not pay for your crisis!” The demonstrations opposed a massive redistribution of public resources from the bottom to the top, as practiced by the nation states in their alleged attempts to manage the crises. While governments assisted banks with billions, they took money away from the majority of working people. In contrast to banks, no rescue plans focus on people with financial problems and in poverty; their misery and discontent do not threaten the system.
“Too Big to Fail” creates an image of the desire that the global movement for a democratic transformation becomes system-relevant, no longer ignored by those in power.