Towards The Wilful Undertaking of Serious Chances
A residency from 02/27/2012 until 03/11/2012
A series of numbers and a couple of dots. Perhaps on a page of graph paper. The numbers in the centre represent years, and the ones in the left margin, quantities. At the bottom are prices. Perhaps, the whole thing represents the demand for coal.
The image was drawn by the hand of British economist and statistician William Stanley Jevons. It may be significant that Jevons, one of the early pioneers of the graphical representation of economic data, published The Coal Question in 1865, the very same year that John Graham Chambers, a Welshman, drafted the Queensbury Rules, a code regulating the sport of boxing. For it was out of the violent conditions created by the increased demand for coal that many Welsh men decided to take their chance in the ring.
From those numbers and a couple of dots, we will develop our own story of seminal and concurrent moments in the history of political economy alongside the last push of industrialization in Britain in the late 19th century. Our story will transform anecdotes and historical details into reflections on the role of observation in political economy, the domestication of chance, the development of probabilities and statistics, and the art of boxing.
Ultimately, these studies will come together as chapters in a live projection/performance entitled The Wilful Undertaking of Serious Chances.
A project by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens.