Compliance/Defiance Through Luxury, Art, and Antiquities
Regulating Away the Bad, the Opaque, and the Ugly
5-6 December 2022
Historical Museum, University of Oslo
Fredriks gate 2, 0164, Oslo
Registration Link: https://nettskjema.no/a/296282
(in person only)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Liza Rusalskaya on Unsplash
About the Conference
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western governments issued a series of sanctions targeting individuals, companies, and whole industries, stretching the pre-existing sanctions regimes to levels never seen before. The UK, US, EU, and Switzerland have, among others, sanctioned the delivery, sale, transit, and export of luxury goods to Russia and Belarus, including art, antiquities, jewellery, luxury cars and so on, hoping to rob the Russian elites and oligarchs of enjoyment and pleasure, as well as of the means to stash away their wealth and proceeds from corruption in high-value goods. Oligarch’s luxury yachts, private jets, and art collections have been targeted and seized while the Western art world have endeavoured to ‘weed out’ the sanctioned oligarchs from its midst, in fears of the art market being exploited as a route for sanctions evasion. This focus on the ‘dark side’ of the art, antiquities and luxury markets has not emerged out of the blue. On the contrary, there have been a series of influential revelations, reports, and scandals that have cast a harsher spotlight on the art, antiquities, and related luxury markets and their intersections with the dark and illicit aspects of the global economy and global criminal markets. The Panama Papers included revelations about the art market and its relation to offshore jurisdictions, while reports have documented the destruction, looting and smuggling of cultural heritage by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. OFACs advisory report on sanctions evasion and money laundering in the art market discussed, among other figures, the sanctioned oligarch’s Arkady and Boris Rotenberg; while an EU report explicitly connected money laundering and other financial crime risks to freeports storing high-end art and other goods. This is not to mention the steady stream of journalistic revelations and criminal investigations of scandals, frauds, counterfeiting, looting, smuggling, and more across these markets. The financialisation of the art, antiquities, and luxury markets have contributed to popularity of such high-end goods as points of integration in money laundering operations; while non-profits, governmental bodies, and investigative journalists are making increasingly frequent links about the relationship between these markets and grand corruption in their public discourse.
Such scandals have stimulated the calls for art and luxury market transparency and accountability, as well as the progressive transformation of voluntary standards and soft forms of self-regulation into harder forms of regulations. However, this call for ‘transformation’ typically involves the expansion of pre-existing anti-money laundering regimes – from the Directive (EU) 2015/849 (5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive) which also targets freeport operators, the extension of the anti-money laundering regulation under the Bank Secrecy Act in the US to antiquities dealers, to the discussions about the Enablers Act in US, and similar debates elsewhere. What these regulations have in common is the way they go about ‘regulating’ these markets. Namely, by stimulating the proliferation of ‘audit cultures’ (Shore & Wright, 2015, 2018; Strathern, 2000) and expanding the logic of compliance and risk-based approaches appropriated from financial markets and banking regulation; approaches that rely on (enhanced) due diligence, KYC (know your customer), PEP screening and sanctions screening. The goal is to bring these markets out of the shadows and into the ‘light’, to make transactions ‘transparent’, to document record, audit, and create paper trails, generating suspicious activity reports (SARs) for law enforcement and intelligence units to act upon. Such efforts involve the subjection of clients, intermediaries, and artworks and antiquities themselves to both overt and covert intelligence investigations and risk assessments that encompass both provenance of funds and objects, with the latter now being delivered by tech and consultancy companies who supply reports based on OSINT (open-source intelligence), along with other proliferating actors in the compliance-industrial complex (Kuldova, 2022). What we are witnessing is nothing less than the securitization of the art, antiquities, and luxury markets. Such markets are increasingly being seen not only as facilitators of crime and corruption, but as instrumental in crime prevention, detection, intelligence gathering, and foreign policy – such as through sanctions regimes, asset freezes, unexplained wealth orders (e.g., the UK Economic Crime Act 2022). These forms of regulation enlist regulated entities and diverse art market participants – including museums – in the tasks of crime prevention and the implementation of foreign and security policy, placing both legal and moral duty on these markets to perform policing functions.
At the same time, we have seen that over the last two decades, an entire industry has emerged, catering to the needs of the corrupt and the criminal (Markus, 2017). This industry exploits the fine lines between the legal and illegal, consisting of ‘evasion experts’ facilitating tax evasion and money laundering (Zucman, 2015), but this does not mean that it can be neatly separated. We introduce the concept of defiance and the ‘defiance industry’ to capture this apparatus and its logic, while acknowledging the complexity of these issues at hand and the fact that compliance and defiance cannot often be neatly separated. The Russian oligarchs, and they are not alone, have shown us that evasion, often carefully kept invisible and untraceable, paradoxically also manifests itself in luxurious defiance vis-à-vis national and transnational systems of regulation, and in visible refusals to submit oneself voluntarily to the global regime of ethics of transparency, openness, accountability, and audit – or else, to comply. It manifests in the quest for spectacular displays of wealth, in the quest for sovereignty, in the hoarding and collecting of value, worth and prestige. The sense of ‘special liberty’, or else, of the sense of entitlement to transgress rules, norms, and regulations in the name of self-interest irrespective of harmful consequences (Hall and Wilson 2014), is at the core. Discussions about the role of intermediaries and enablers – including art consultants, experts, including lawyers and accountants, but also curators, academics, art and antiquities dealers, actors within auction houses – are also gaining a momentum. Simultaneously, we see also the intensification of debates about repatriation of looted and stolen cultural property and art, and of museums and other institutions implicated in trafficking, both historical and current. This forces us to rethink this hegemonic regulatory perspective and the imaginary that underpins it, as well as the relation between compliance and defiance.
What modes of defiance escape the gaze of this particular form of compliance, and what sorts of defiance are enabled by these regulatory visions? Thinking more broadly: what kind of a world does compliance envision for us? What is at stake if we come to view the world of art, antiquities, and luxury primarily through the lens of crime, data, intelligence – as financialized, securitized and to be audited? What happens to the cultural objects, and culture itself in the process? Does anything get lost when we apply this narrow lens – one that does not consider social, cultural, historical, or political contexts, one that does not care for that which cannot be recorded and subjected to risk assessments? If so, what is that we are losing? Should we rethink the very nature of what it means to comply and defy? Are such compliance measures, which are aimed at tackling financial corruption, inadvertently contributing to the corruption of art, culture, and heritage itself? Is this too steep a price to pay, and can we find another way of combatting such ills?
The ideological fantasy (Žižek, 1989) is one of pre-emption through risk management, transparency, and auditing; of filling regulatory ‘gaps’ and ‘loopholes’ which are imagined as the escape hatches of the corrupt and criminal. It is an imaginary of a leaky regulatory system that always demands more regulation but that also bears a promise of wholeness, of a future point of when all these holes and gaps would be filled, a world of perfect control architectures, where risks, crimes and threats could be anticipated, pre-empted, and prevented, where all is transparent and ready to be analysed – and thus controlled. Now this fantasy is to target the world of high-value cultural artefacts and culture itself, a world that is deemed opaque, murky, private, informal, and hence easily corruptible, a world where value is both discretionary and driven up by chains of prestige enhancing operations over long periods of time, involving institutions and expertise, and where some objects are deemed inalienable, invaluable, and priceless, or expressions of sovereignty. What happens when the reductionist visions of purity as audit come to target culture and heritage along with the markets and illicit actors that trade in culture? What visions of ethics and morality do they enact? In this conference, our aim is to go beyond the narrow legal and criminal justice perspectives on crimes through art, antiquities, and luxury and instead take these perspectives as a starting point for a critical discussion of the role of both financialization and securitization of culture. Join us in the discussion!
Ⓒ Tereza Østbø Kuldova, 2022
Markus, S. (2017). Oligarchs and Corruption in Putin’s Russia: Of Sand Castles and Geopolitical Volunteering. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 18(2), 26-32.
Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2015). Audit Culture Revisited: Rankings, Ratings, and the Reassembling of Society. Current Anthropology, 56(3), 421-444.
Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2018). How the Big 4 got big: Audit culture and the metamorphosis of international accountancy firms. Critique of Anthropology, 38(3), 303-324.
Strathern, M. (Ed.). (2000). Audit Cultures: Anthropological Studies in Accountability, Ethics and the Academy. Routledge.
Žižek, S. (1989). The Sublime Object of Ideology. Verso.
Zucman, G. (2015). The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Chicago University Press.
Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Oslo Metropolitan University
Gro Birgit Ween, University of Oslo
Jardar Østbø, Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies
Thomas Raymen, Northumbria University Newcastle
This conference is part of the project Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics: Towards a Critical Theory of the Moral Economy of Fraud (LUXCORE), funded by The Research Council of Norway (313004). The event is organized jointly by the Oslo Metropolitan University and the University of Oslo, with the support of the Algorithmic Governance Research Network.
08:30 – 09:00 Registration and Coffee
09:00 – 09:10 Words of Welcome
Tereza Østbø Kuldova
Project Leader of LUXCORE
Oslo Metropolitan University
09:10 – 09:30
Pandemic Profiteering and Broker Capitalism
How Private Consultancy Firms Leverage Public Money, Defy Regulation and Help the Rich
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and Goldsmiths University of London
With an estimated value of $22.5 trillion per annum and an annual growth rate of 9.9%, financial services industry has become one of the world’s most lucrative global markets. This industry has penetrated seemingly every aspect of economy and society in ways that are profoundly reshaping public ethics and the practice of government itself. A key dimension of this is the growing influence of private consultancy firms over policy making and government. In this paper I examine this phenomenon using two empirical case studies from the UK, both of which involve private consultancy firms’ attempts to leverage public funds during the Covid crisis. The first concerns the public scandal surrounding Greensill Capital, a supply-chain finance company, and its relationship with former British Prime Minister David Cameron. The second concerns the scandal that arose following revelations in 2022 that the UK government had operated a ‘fast lane’ procurement policy to acquire Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid pandemic which saw millions of pounds of contracts awarded without competition to friends and cronies of the Conservative Party and £8.9 billion in lost public funding. I ask what were the conditions that made these scandals possible? Drawing on the anthropology of corruption, theories of broker capitalism I argue that these financial practices and the scandals they produce are both cause and effect of the progressive blurring of the boundaries between the public and private spheres that has occurred because of successive neoliberal deregulation and policy reforms. They also highlight the capture of government itself by predatory financial interests. What role have private consultants played in this process? What do these stories reveal about the market-making power of financial service industry brokers?
Cris Shore is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths University of London (UK) and currently Research Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Finland). Between 2002-2017 he was professor of anthropology, Head of Department, and director of the Europe Institute at Auckland University (New Zealand). His research engages with debates in political/public anthropology, particularly the study of policy, organisations, corruption, higher education, governance and the State. Cris co-edits Stanford University Press’s Anthropology of Policy series. He is author of 16 books including The Shapeshifting Crown (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Death of the Public University (with Sue Wright, Berghahn 2018), Corruption: Anthropological Perspectives (Pluto Press 2005) and Building Europe: The Cultural Politics of European Integration (Routledge 2000). His most recent book (with Sue Wright) is Audit Culture: How Rankings, Ratings and Indicators are Changing the World (in press).
09:30 – 09:50
Traversing the Fantasy of Compliance and Defiance
Investigating the Ideological Reproduction of Neoliberal Governance Through the Fight Against Crime in the Art and Antiquities Markets
Tereza Østbø Kuldova
Oslo Metropolitan University
The international art and antiquities market is often described as the ‘last unregulated market’ that lends itself, due to its idiosyncrasies, to exploitation by a broad range of criminal actors. Art scandals and revelations of financial frauds, of money laundering through art and antiquities, of the looting of antiquities to finance terrorism, of forgeries of artworks and of provenance, of tax evasion, the use of freeports, free trade zones and offshore tax havens, and ‘creative compliance’, or of NFT art fraudulent schemes, have over the past decade attracted far more public attention and scrutiny, and spurred more (self-)regulatory action. In this paper, I shall focus on the fight against crime through art, antiquities, and luxury markets as it manifests in AML, CFT, sanctions, and related regulatory regimes that extend the logic of banking regulations and compliance into the art and antiquities markets (among others) – a move aligned with the financialization of art, and that are framed by issues of national security, foreign policy, cultural diplomacy, and transnational organized crime and the fight against key security and criminal threats. These regulations have to be understood as ‘anti-policies’ (Walters 2008) that aim to eliminate the negative (for the lack of a positive vision) and that enlist public and private organizations in the fight against crime, effectively delegating not only intelligence gathering but also policing powers to these organizations (thus expanding rather than undermining corporate sovereignty). Building on my previous research on the ‘compliance-industrial complex’ (Kuldova 2022), I shall track its expansion into the art and antiquities markets and unpack two, upon a closer inspection rather peculiar, regulatory ideas that appear to have become hegemonic in these technobureaucratic approaches to crime fighting. Namely, (1) the desire to close various holes and gaps that are identified as the problem; it is the holes that are seen as being exploited by nefarious and criminal actors and must therefore be closed, be these regulatory or legal loopholes or gaps in data and knowledge, and (2) the desire to tackle crime and other unwanted scenarios through others (rather than directly), in this case by enlisting the regulated (the same often revealed to facilitate crime) in crime fighting while relying on the logic of ‘pre-crime’ and pre-emption (Arrigo and Sellers 2021; McCulloch and Wilson 2016; Zedner 2007), intelligence gathering and private investigations, resulting in the pluralization, hybridization and privatization of policing under the guise of ‘compliance’ and ‘due diligence’. Consequently, I will contrast these desires framed within the fantasies of compliance, purity, transparency, disinterest, objectivity, neutrality, and more, with the fantasies of defiance embodied by the oft-cited nature of the art world as ‘opaque’, ‘private’, ‘informal’, ‘discretionary’ and ‘secretive’. I will try to shed some light on the ideological fantasy of compliance and defiance and show how this fantasy serves to both disavow and evade the problem at the core, while stimulating the massive proliferation and growth of neoliberal regulation and control apparatuses that not only fail, time and again, to control that which they set out to control, but also result in new forms of uncontrollability. The question is twofold: what world does this regulatory fantasy of compliance and defiance effectively create, and how to traverse this fantasy and break its ideological hold.
Tereza Østbø Kuldova is a social anthropologist and Research Professor based at the Work Research Institute, Oslo Metropolitan University. She is the author of, among others, Compliance-Industrial Complex: The Operating System of a Pre-Crime Society (Palgrave, 2022), How Outlaws Win Friends and Influence People (Palgrave, 2019), Luxury Indian Fashion: A Social Critique (Bloomsbury, 2016), editor of Crime, Harm and Consumerism (Routledge, 2020), Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs and Street Gangs: Scheming Legality, Resisting Criminalization (Palgrave, 2018), Urban Utopias: Excess and Expulsion in Neoliberal South Asia (Palgrave, 2017), and Fashion India: Spectacular Capitalism (Akademika Publishing, 2013). She has written extensively on topics ranging from fashion, design, aesthetics, branding, intellectual property rights, philanthropy, India, to outlaw motorcycle clubs, subcultures, organized crime, corruption and anti-corruption. She is currently leading an international project titled: Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics: Towards a Critical Cultural Theory of the Moral Economy of Fraud and funded by The Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO Young Talents 313004), while participating in several other international projects. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Extreme Anthropology as well as of the Algorithmic Governance Research Network.
Arrigo, Bruce, and Brian Sellers, eds. 2021. The Pre-Crime Society: Crime, Culture and Control in the Ultramodern Age. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
Kuldova, Tereza Østbø. 2022. Compliance-Industrial Complex: The Operating System of a Pre-Crime Society. Palgrave Pivot.
McCulloch, Jude, and Dean Wilson. 2016. Pre-crime: Pre-emption, precaution and the future. New York: Routledge.
Walters, William. 2008. "Anti-policy and anti-politics: Critical reflections on certain schemes to govern bad things." European Journal of Cultural Studies 11 (3): 267-288.
Zedner, Lucia. 2007. "Pre-crime and post-criminology?" Theoretical Criminology 11 (2): 261-281.
09:50 – 10:10
The Luxury of Privacy
A Surveillance Studies Perspective on the Privacy Implications of Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Measures in the Art Market
University of Amsterdam
In theory, privacy is a fundamental right. In reality, it has become a luxury good – it’s rare, it’s precious, and it’s reserved for those who can afford it. This paper is part of my current research on the implementation of AML/CTF measures in the art market, which oblige Art Market Participants to join the ranks of financial institutions as ‘gatekeepers’ in the European response to financial crime. This paper approaches this development through the lens of Surveillance Studies. It critically examines the AML/CTF measures as a form of ‘financial surveillance’, whereby art market participants are mandated to act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the state. Contemporary surveillance has evolved from a centralized ‘seeing’ to an ‘assemblage’ (Haggerty & Ericson, 2000) with multiple and overlapping public-private viewpoints. As such, the AML/CTF measures are inscribed in the imaginary of surveillance whereby all can be seen, and blind spots of policing are to be regulated away by relying on the vigilance of private actors (Amicelle & Favarel-Garrigues, 2012). Thus viewed, ‘closing regulatory loopholes’ implies tightening the net of surveillance. This paper aims to examine this incorporation of the art market into the realm of financial surveillance, by focusing on a discussion of ‘financial privacy’. It departs from the premise that privacy is eroding as a consequence of financial surveillance. It argues that the art market has long been sheltered from this erosion, but this has changed due to the AML/CTF measures. It then seeks to answer, firstly, the question of how deploying art market participants as financial surveillance actors disrupts privacy expectations of buyers and sellers. Secondly, it examines the tensions between viewing ‘resisting compliance’ as ‘resisting surveillance’ in response to these disruptions created by eroded privacy. These questions fit into broader discussions on the erosion of privacy in search of security.
Maja Dehouck is a PhD Candidate and researcher on financial intelligence and ethics of information sharing at the University of Amsterdam. She conducts PhD research with a focus on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures in the art market. As part of Project CRAAFT (Collaboration, Research & Analysis Against the Financing of Terrorism), she analyzes the ethical and legal aspects of public-private financial information- sharing partnerships. Previously, Maja was involved in an EU FET Flagship large-scale research initiative on the use of Artificial Intelligence for cultural heritage. She has also published on the regulation of illicit cultural property trafficking at EU level. Maja holds an LLM in International and European Law, an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology and a BSc in Communication Science.
10:10 – 10:30
Anti-Money Laundering Regulatory Compliance by Private Sector Art Market Actors Learning, Experience, and Interaction
University of Glasgow
With the adoption of the EU’s Fifth AML Directive (2018/843) of 30 May 2018, art market actors were added to the list of obliged entities to the extent that they they store, trade, or act as an intermediary in the trade of works of art where the value of the transaction or linked transactions amounts to at least EUR 10,000. AML regulation essentially utilizes market actors and their ways on managing risk to regulate economic crime, hereby working together with private sector actors on ‘public matters’ and effectively creating private governance regimes. These private governance regimes are shaped by and evolve with the experience of their actors, as well as with their interactions: between the private sector actors, but also between government and international regulators. The topic of this paper addresses an understudied component of regulating money laundering through art and the art market, more specifically how compliance is learned and developed by art market actors. Getting involved in achieving public goals can be quite a scary thing for art market actors and sometimes be viewed as counter to their purposes as profit-seeking and private actors. When designing private regulatory regimes, the experience, willingness, and attitude of those private actors are an essential part of their effectiveness. An effectiveness, that has gained additional weight with recent events in Ukraine and corresponding sanctions against Russia. This paper is based on ongoing research which explores how the aforementioned regulatory changes have impacted art market actors, how they have worked to address them, and what kind of organizational thinking is necessary to do this effectively. Drawing on legal theory about regulatory governance, qualitative interviews with art market actors, and my practical experience on AML and sanctions compliance, I plan to present preliminary findings, focusing on the reflection of art market actors and organizations on their role in the fight against money laundering and the limits of this reflection.
Katharina Stoll is a PhD student with the University of Glasgow’s School of Law and a department head for sanctions operations at a German bank. She started her career as an art historian at Bonhams in London, Poly Auction in Beijing, and Yves Siebers Auktionen in Stuttgart. Leveraging her education as an art historian and her work experience in the AML/Sanctions field, Katharina’s research is focused on Anti-Money Laundering regulations for the art market. Katharina is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS), a Certified Global Sanctions Specialist (CGSS), and a Certified Advanced AML Audit Specialist (CAMS-Audit).
10:30 – 10:50 Q&A
10:50 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:20
Dirty Luxury and Weaponized Corruption
Russia as the Immoral Other Reinvigorating Capitalism and the ‘Rules-Based Order’
Institute for Defence Studies, Norwegian Defence University College
With its full-scale attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Russia returned with vengeance to become one of the West’s most-feared enemies and its constituting Other. Disagreement between Western countries has given way to unity, and whereas it is not certain that the flow of weapons to Ukraine will continue at the same speed, there is no sign that the struggle against Russian ‘weaponized corruption’ will wane. To the contrary, anti-corruption is an integrated part of the sanctions regimes and is securitized in US strategic documents. This paper argues that the image of the corrupt, immoral Other with his dirty luxury – his ill-begotten gains, in contrast to the ‘clean luxury’ of ‘proper’ capitalists – contributes to reviving the moral superstructure of capitalism, much like Communism did with capitalism after the crisis in the West in the 1970s. Russian ‘weaponized corruption’ is seen as a grave or perhaps even existential threat to the so-called ‘rules-based order’ that is essential to the West’s self-perception. But paradoxically, precisely for this reason, it serves an important function – it helps the perpetuation of the ‘rules-based order’ by providing its negative image and by externalizing the causes of corruption.
Jardar Østbø is Professor and Head of Programme for Russian Security and Defence Policy at the Institute for Defence Studies, Norwegian Defence University College. His articles on Russian politics and society have appeared in journals such as Post-Soviet Affairs, Journal of Extreme Anthropology, Cultural Politics, Demokratizatsiya: Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, and Social Movement Studies. Østbø is the author of The New Third Rome. Readings of a Russian Nationalist Myth (2016). He is the leader of the international project RUSECOPOL (2019-2023), which studies the Russian political elite. Østbø is a core researcher of the LUXCORE project.
11:20 – 11:40
The Strange Career of Cultures of Compliance and Defiance in Post-Socialist Czechia
University of West Bohemia
This presentation seeks to reconstruct the evolution of compliance and defiance cultures in post-socialist Czechia, in light of the different strategies of official institutions in adapting to new political and economic conditions. The emergence of the compliance culture can be traced back and finds its origins in the then novel ‘anti-organized crime discourse’ in Czechia after 1989, related to make the organization reform from Soviet to democratic policing while preserving some of its intelligence functions. The concept of corruption was also part of the discourse. The path towards the progressive evolution of the compliance culture continues with the progressive autonomization of the anti-corruption discourse in late 2000s and early 2010s. This autonomization process was related to international pressure, the proliferation of corruption scandals in the Czech media, and the pluralization of anti-corruption elites and governance bodies, public and private, both nationally and internationally. Despite their original role as representatives of Czech civic society, some of these elites soon hybridized with business players, while creating key infrastructure for developing the compliance industry and commodifying anti-corruption and regulatory compliance at large. Defiance culture emerged parallel to the compliance culture from the free-market discourse related to the transition from state socialism to the market economy in the 1990s. This period was characterized by the opening of the market to global financial flows facilitated by the moving of entire industries from public to private ownership. Since many official institutions did not have legal instruments to regulate these flows, they had to find other ways to adapt to these flows including manipulating their own reputation. I will illustrate this process using the example of Karlovy Vary, a spa town in Czechia, whose spa infrastructure was privatized into the hands of Russian economic capital associated with organized crime and corruption. This created a challenge for the municipality and the local business sector on how to deal with these flows: either to oppose them in the spirit of compliance culture or accept them even at the cost of the reputation of a mafia city.
Petr Kupka is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of West Bohemia. He is affiliated also with the Department of Social Work, University of Ostrava. His work explores and links post-socialism, informality, organized crime, crime control, and urban marginality. He published on these issues in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, European Journal of Criminology, Crime, Media, Culture, or Trends in Organized Crime. Currently, he conducts research on the roots of cultures of compliance and defiance in Czechia (as a member of the ‘LUXCORE’ research project), and on how and why crime occurs in the autobiographical narratives of offenders in Czechia (as a member of the ‘In Their Own Words’ research project).
11:40 – 12:00
UK freeports 2.0: Understanding New Patterns of Encasement and (Dis)order
Freeports and special economic zones are attracting increasing scholarly attention. Critical work has examined the political and economic logics of export-processing zones in Asia, major transhipment hubs in the Middle East, and high-tech warehouse complexes in Central Europe. A new contender can be found in the UK, where market fundamentalist and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s flagship policy for economic growth post-Brexit inspired the reintroduction of a previously failed policy initiative in the form of 10 new freeports. Drawing on the initial findings of an interdisciplinary criminological study, this paper explores the political and criminogenic dimensions of the UK’s freeports during the first stages of their implementation. Using Teesside Freeport as a case study and building on Slobodian’s notion of ‘market encasement’, I will show how the freeports become institutionalised as forms of trade and interaction, and the key challenges and risks that this type of ordering presents. Despite being sold on solutions-based policies and populist talking points, control on Teesside has to date been ceded to technocratic advisory panels and corrupt local business elites, with reports of emerging harms to the environment and society. Is it possible to extend the reach of democracy to hold these institutions and actors to account?
Alexandra Hall is an interdisciplinary criminologist with research interests extending across the social sciences. Her work makes use of integrated theoretical frameworks and qualitative, ethnographic and online methodologies. Previous projects have focused on such wide-ranging themes as the methods and motivations of suppliers and consumers of counterfeit and falsified medicines online (European Commission), techniques of financial management among cocaine traffickers and illicit tobacco traders (European Commission), UK-China flows in the counterfeit trade (AHRC/ESRC), and my doctoral research on the changing nature of the British Pakistani honour/shame complex. This research has appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals (such as the British Journal of Criminology and European Journal of Criminology), in co-authored books (Fake Meds Online and Fake Goods, Real Money), and in mainstream media (including the BBC, The Guardian, Vice and The Economist). Hall is currently an ISRF Early Career Research Fellow working on a project titled The Freeport Paradox, which builds on her previous research on global illicit product markets and flows to advance interdisciplinary knowledge of the criminogenic dimensions of special economic zones (SEZs), with an empirical focus on the UK’s new freeports. More info on the project is available here.
12:00 – 12:20
Claustropolitan Luxury and Corruption
The Encasement Fantasies of Elites and Rethinking Ethics
The late cultural theorist Steve Redhead’s (2011; 2017) argued that we are living in an increasingly ‘claustropolitan’ society. Building on Paul Virilio’s off-the-cuff aphorism that in the 21st century we are moving from ‘cosmopolis to claustropolis’, Redhead argues that the extent to which we have embraced a cosmopolitan move toward hyper-sociality, openness, and genuine intersubjective encounters with the other has always been vastly overstated. On the contrary, the ‘structure of feeling’ that reigns today is one of claustrophobia, enclosure, and feeling pressurised and besieged by external forces. There is, he argues, a sense that what we really want is to be off this planet. In claustropolitan times, there is the increasing feeling that we occupy a dying and decaying world where the very idea of ‘society’ represents nothing more than a crumbling project that can offer little of genuine value or satisfaction. For a long time, the luxury industry has reflected this claustropolitan structure of feeling and trended in this direction, evidenced by the gated communities and domestic fortresses of the super-rich, the super-yachts and private jets of oligarchs, the secretive freeports which warehouse the world’s luxury art and antiquities, and the ultra-luxury doomsday bunkers and sea steads of Silicon Valley’s libertarians. Whether its through these more earthly forms of luxury, or the more outlandish dreams such as Elon Musk’s project to colonise Mars, Mark Zuckerberg’s desire for us all to live in a virtual Metaverse, or Ray Kurzweil’s desire to transcend our mortal form and upload our consciousness to the cloud, the luxury fantasies of elites – be they corrupt Russian oligarchs or the super-rich tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley – is one of escape through encasement. If we push past the limited definitions of official anti-corruption discourse, corruption has always implicitly been about a dereliction and evasion of duties and accountability (Wedel, 2014). The claustropolitan fantasies of elites is arguably corruption on a massive scale: accumulating enough wealth to leave behind or insulate oneself from the ramifications of the world they have helped to create. This paper, however, goes further by applying this claustropolitan logic of escape-through-encasement to the project of neoliberalism more generally (Slobodian, 2019), and the contemporary corporation in particular. As recent work on the compliance-industrial complex has demonstrated, contemporary corporations – and indeed entire industries – have become self-enclosed legal entities (Kuldova, 2022). In many respects, the modern corporation is an ethico-legal bunker in itself, with the compliance-industrial complex being both a product and a reflection of claustropolitanism. They pursue freedom through rules and achieve special liberty via encasement, and it is through such encasement that the logics of compliance and defiance converge to facilitate corruption on a grand scale (ibid.). What facilitates this convergence of compliance and defiance is a dominant conception of ethics that is not concerned with fostering good moral character or pursuing the telos of social practices, but of ‘doing right’ by obediently following ‘right rules’ (MacIntyre, 2011; Raymen, 2022). Therefore, it is argued that to fight corruption we must rethink anti-corruption’s ethics and challenge its deontological-technocratic character, and instead think of morality and ethics in ways that preclude the logics of compliance and defiance from converging.
Thomas Raymen is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Northumbria University, UK. He is the author of The Enigma of Social Harm: The Problem of Liberalism (Routledge, 2022); Parkour, Deviance and Leisure in the Late-Capitalist City (Emerald, 2018); and editor of Deviant Leisure: Criminological Perspectives on Leisure and Harm as well as numerous other peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His research interests span the fields of criminology, anthropology, leisure studies, psychoanalysis, and continental and moral philosophy.
Kuldova, T. (2022) The Compliance-Industrial Complex: The Operating System of a Pre-Crime Society. Palgrave Macmillan
MacIntyre, A. (2011) After Virtue. London. Bloomsbury.
Raymen, T. (2022) The Enigma of Social Harm: The Problem of Liberalism. London. Routledge.
Redhead, S. (2011) We Have Never Been Postmodern: Theory at the Speed of Light. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press
Redhead, S. (2017) Theoretical Times. Bingley. Emerald.
Slobodian, Q. (2018) Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.
Wedel, J. (2014) Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class. New York. Pegasus Books.
12:20 – 12:40 Q&A
12:40 - 13:20 Lunch Break
13:20 – 13:40
Money, Power, and Politics in the Rebuilding of Cultural Heritage
Lessons from Syria
University of Virginia
Who pays to rebuild cultural heritage after war, and what are the incentives to do so? In this talk I will introduce the concept of patrimony logistics as the power to command resources necessary to rebuild culturally sensitive sites. Implicit in this form of power is the ability to determine how to rebuild, whose interpretation, which stakeholders will be included, and whose interpretation of the site will be promoted. Above all, patrimony logistics confers an association with valuable symbolic and cultural capital. Because there is no blueprint or law for this work, it is susceptible to influence from personalized networks and resources, raising questions about transparency and corruption. My empirical case is post-war Syria and the effort to rebuild the ancient city of Palmyra.
Fiona Greenland is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. She holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in classical archaeology from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on art restitution, nationalism, and cultural policy, with particular interest in national and international governance frameworks for protecting antiquities from theft and destruction. Her book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (2021, University of Chicago Press) was awarded the 2022 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in Culture from the American Sociological Association. She is co-director of the CURIA Lab (Cultural Resilience Informatics and Analysis), whose collaborative projects prioritize mixed-methods analysis of cultural destruction and recovery. Greenland's work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council (USA), and the Quantitative Collaborative at the University of Virginia, and her articles have been published in Sociological Science, Sociological Theory, Theory and Society, and the American Journal of Cultural Sociology.
13:40 – 14:00
The Weaponization of Hague 1954: Heritage Held Hostage
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights a legal gray area in the protection of heritage sites during wartime. According to the Hague Convention of 1954, cultural property are not considered legitimate military targets unless their capture or destruction represents a military necessity. The example often given for what constitutes a military necessity is that an opposing force may target a sniper who is posted up in the bell tower of a church. By adopting a cultural property to achieve a military objective, the sniper has essentially converted a protected site into a military target. If the opposing force attempts to snipe the sniper, any stray bullet holes in the church facade are not considered to be a war crime, since the church’s status as cultural property has already been negated by the sniper entrenched in the tower. The spirit of international compliance underlying Hague 1954 is grounded in two agreements: firstly, the agreement that heritage should be protected; and secondly, the agreement that nations at war want to avoid committing war crimes. But what if a signatory no longer wishes to comply with these tenets? When war crimes are a strategic military aim, then the tenets of Hague 1954 can be weaponized against the very sites the Treaty was written to protect. Simply by militarily occupying a Ukrainian heritage site, the Russians can negate its protected status, at which point, Hague 1954 no longer applies. This paper will consider evidence for the Russian military entrenchment of Ukrainian cultural property in order to examine the wider implications of a strategic effort to strip heritage sites of their protected status. Through this lens, this paper thinks through the implications of the military necessity clause of Hague 1954, which may need to be reevaluated in light of modern warfare.
Kate Harrell is an archaeologist with extensive professional experience working in mission focused organizations, including academic, non-profit, and U.S. Government enterprises. She is currently an investigator with the Conflict Observatory, a non-profit consortium funded by the Department of State, which seeks to research and document Russian-perpetrated war crimes in Ukraine. Kate holds the position of Senior Research Associate at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and is the Director of Education at the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab. After serving seven years of active duty service as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy, Kate is also a minority veteran. She currently serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
14:00 – 14:20
Illicit Heritage Objects and the Construction of Value
Objects, Regulations, and Cultural Diplomacy
University of Oslo
When the police or customs authorities come across illicit cultural heritage objects, a relative consistent set of regulations and ethical and normative guidelines given by national legislation and international conventions are put into effect. In a process of restitution, the responsible actors are defined through heritage acts and ‘best practice’, and usually express a strong will and motivation to comply with the regulations. A more complex picture is revealed when we study real-life examples in more detail. Informal conditions often determine how cultural heritage objects are considered in such processes, which regulations are considered or rejected, and that ‘compliance’ is used/misused in arguments for/against seizure and return. The talk is based on two recent police seizures in Norway. Both include identical pre-Columbian artifacts from Peru, but the two cases have completely different outcomes. A brief review of the cases will be the starting point for a reflection and discussion about the effect of the regulations, and the application of the heritage acts. Cultural heritage's inherent agency is activated when objects are included in complex meaning-making contexts across national borders and established professional networks and institutions. It will be demonstrated that the choices and interests of these actors determine the status and importance of the heritage objects. The discussion is based on Authorizing Heritage Discourse (L. Smith 2006) and problematises the terms Cultural diplomacy and Heritage diplomacy as interpretive frameworks for heritage objects that enter the diplomatic sphere. The complex network of actors that influence the construction of value of cultural heritage and how objects is activated as diplomatic and political currencies will be discussed, partly based on the terms Governance vs. Compliance.
Håkon Roland has experience from archaeological fieldwork in Italy, Greece and Turkey, compelling and analysis of substantial archaeological material (Tegea, Cos, Naxos, Metropolis) and supervising landscape surveys (MA and PhD level). He has more than 20 years’ experience on popular outreach by exhibition work, media handling and statutory management in accordance with Norwegian Law of Cultural Heritage. Roland has ex officio national responsibility for import-export of archaeological and ethnographical objects to/from Norway and serves as expert advisor for ministries and government agencies. Roland is also exploring research strategies on management and regulations to prevent illicit trade of cultural objects. Acknowledging the importance of appropriate heritage acts and custom regulations, he aims to develop deep structural changes to bring the cultural heritage crime field forward. His impact-driven network includes ministries and directorates, police, customs, museums, journalists, collectors, dealers, metal detectorists and NGOs. Roland is Chair of Blue Shield Norway, and Board member of ICOM Norway and ICOM NORD.
14:20 – 14:40
Raiders of the Lost Art
Roman Intra-Elite Competition and Arts Looting in the Hellenistic Mediterranean in the Late Republic
Carina Chitta and Ilja Steffelbauer
University for Continuing Education (Danube University) Krems
Without the Romans looting Hellenistic works of art from the central and eastern Mediterranean, Greek art, so fundamental to the Western canon of art history and stylistics, wouldn’t be a thing. Moreover, through the market for copies of Greek originals created within the Roman world, many works of Greek sculpture that would otherwise have been lost to the ravages of time have come down to us – including such seminal pieces as the Laokoon-Group from the Vatican or the equally well-known Dying Gaul. Without the consequent unearthing – in Rome – of these copies during the Renaissance and Early Modern era, our appreciation and the role of Greek art in Western art history would be greatly diminished. Arts looting – originating in archaic practices of transferring the divine protectors of cities and the time-honoured traditions of the spoils of war – became under the special conditions of the intense competition of the senatorial class of the Later Roman Republic a means of one-upmanship within an elite that was both embracing and resisting Hellenistic culture and civilization. Individual high-profile incidents – like Cicero’s famed first great case against the former governor of Sicily - Gaius Verres - or the earlier looting of Greek cities and sanctuaries during the conquest under Caecilius Metellus and Sulla – shed spotlights on a cultural practice that permeated the Roman senatorial elite and was but one in an arsenal of weapons in the intra-elite struggle for power within the Roman Republic in the century of its crisis. Whereas these objects were of religious or civic significance in Greek culture, for the Romans they became “art” that could be acquired, collected, displayed and appreciated. In the subsequent discussion we would like to open up the perspective on a structural comparison between the historic case and modern phenomena.
Carina Chitta studied Ancient History, History, English and German at the University of Vienna. She was granted a scholarship by the Austrian Academy of Science for her dissertation work in Rome. In her doctoral thesis she focused on the power dynamics of the Roman senatorial elite through marriage alliances and adoptions. Her recent career has taken her outside academia into the world of further education, testing and assessment as well as auditing in civil aviation. She continues to pursue her interest in the network of senatorial families as a side-line while analysing similar power-plays and malfeasance in present day organizations in her main occupation.
Ilja Steffelbauer, studied Ancient History and History at the University of Vienna and at Athens. After working in various projects on the history of classical Athens, he moved into economic and social history and later anthropology via the study of state formation, social evolution and the role of warfare in societal transformation. Since 2019 he works at the University for Continuing Education Krems at the Faculty for Economics and Globalization on various projects concerning social transition, societal transformation and the role of science-society collaboration in facing the multi-facetted challenges of the present era.
14:40 – 15:00 Q&A
15:00 – 15:20 Break
15:20 – 15:40
The Pursuit of Luxury as an Act of Transgression
Bataille, Sovereignty, Desire
University of Southampton, UK
Through concepts such as the act of transgression, the idea of the pursuit of luxury can be radically transformed by reconsidering the work of the French philosopher Georges Bataille on sovereignty and desire within contemporary culture. This paper on the relations between transgression, luxury, sovereignty, and desire constitutes a reworking of Bataille’s thought. Offering an exploration and development of the key notions which run through current work on luxury, from sumptuous living to human lives in search of lavishness, the paper places these important concepts in their intellectual and historical contexts and goes on to trace their considerable possibilities for contemporary French thought. In this manner, the paper not only makes the idea of the pursuit of luxury accessible, but also invites readers to make their own critical judgements of such a pursuit. The paper concludes with an account of the pursuit of luxury and acts of transgression as a moral vision, and with the perpetual problems of luxury and necessity. The notion of the pursuit of luxury is now impossible to disregard for anybody who is serious-minded about contemporary acts of transgression, and this paper affords the ideal companion to the wide-ranging diversity of Bataille’s critical texts on sovereignty and desire.
John Armitage is a visiting professor of Media Arts at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK. He is the author of Luxury and Visual Culture (Bloomsbury 2020) and a member of the editorial boards of the academic journals Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption (Routledge), and Luxury Studies: The In Pursuit of Luxury Journal (Intellect).
15:40 – 16:00
‘The World is Yours’
On Luxury, Grandeur, and the Criminogenic Construction of (Extra)ordinary Moral Realms in Lagos, Nigeria
University of Bologna
Lagos, Nigeria, is a megacity teeming with people and paradoxes. Despite the existence of underprivileged areas, recently built or renovated residential, business, and administrative areas boast architectural styles as opulent as the lifestyles they represent. The residents of these areas, in addition to skyscrapers and luxury villas, demonstrate their success by purchasing expensive cars, luxury items, and last, but not least, by participating in upscale and exclusive nightlife activities. During these parties, wealth accumulation, often acquired through equally exclusive channels and flamboyant intermediaries, is exhibited in all of its grandeur, even to those who can only admire it through social media. On these nights, those who are seen as “successful” are acknowledged and celebrated for their capacity to control and transform a world from which they may gaze down. It is a world in which, for them, anything is possible, even and especially what would otherwise be forbidden. However, as I will show, without referring to the long historical record of socioeconomic disparities, numerous neoliberal reforms, and how “the public” is perceived in Nigeria’s postcolonial context by local and foreign elites, it would be difficult to understand this conspicuous consumption and who is the target of these ostensibly blatant acts of defiance. While these socialite nights are marked by extravagance, luxury, and exceptionality, the ability to make the impossible achievable requires, in addition to money, constant social negotiations and the preservation of valuable social networks. During these performances, violations or corruption of norms and values (as defined by state rhetoric), in addition to showing to whom one feels entitled to be “special”, may thus create (extra)ordinary moral realms, deviant and external to many, but deeply connected through willing or even forced forms of reciprocity to others, whose identities and formations are constantly shifting within the fabric of Nigerian society.
Davide Casciano is currently a Researcher in the LUXCORE project (Project number: 313004; Financed by: The Research Council of Norway) and an “Assegnista di Ricerca” in Social Anthropology at the University of Bologna. Within LUXCORE, he analyses the conspicuous consumption of transnational elites and the moral economy of corruption in Africa. Additionally, Davide is an Adjunct Professor for an anthropology course on crime and criminalization for undergraduate students, as well as the founder and co-convener of the AnthroCrime network of the EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists).
16:00 – 16:20
The “Yellow Peril” or the “Reputation Screen” of Luxury
Networks and Manufacturing Processes in Prato
University of Oslo
This paper analyses the manufacturing processes and the interweaving of networks in the production of luxury goods in Prato. Nestled at the foot of the Tuscan hills, the city of Prato has specialized in textiles since the 15th century. It rose from the ashes when the Chinese took over the production tools and know-how in the 1980s. Despite this rise, the city has acquired a bad reputation, especially for its products of poor quality. Nonetheless, the luxury industries settled in recent years in Prato and neighbouring cities of Sesto Fiorentino, Scandicci and others. Prada, Balenciaga, Fendi or Gucci capitalized on and proudly present their Made in Italy labels. However, this renewed love for the Italian lands is underpinned by the existence of tacit agreements. Insisting on the narratives of Chinese colonization and of the so called «yellow peril» actually hide the dealings between the luxury industry and factories illegally employing workers. At the centre of the industrial district, Dutch, English, Spanish or Ukrainian shoppers rush to order cheap and high-end products alike, as long as they can pay the price. But the superficial cosmopolitanism of Prato hides relations of exploitation, relations that take us to the Ivory Coast, Libya, Bangladesh and Spain. The speeches about the «yellow peril» of Prato have become what we call the «reputation screen» of luxury brands that have come to take advantage of modern forms of slavery and the lower cost of manufacturing. The city not only looks like, but should be considered and analysed as a no-go zone in the service of neoliberalism. The actors involved wield technologies of production as a tool of social and economic death.
Audrey Millet is a Marie-Sklodowska Curie researcher at the University of Oslo. The Made in SweatShops project investigates how technological advancement and industrialization of the clothing industry has impacted working conditions, women’s employment and career prospects in the clothing workshops of Paris, Shanghai and Prato. Millet investigates how the implementation of an industrial model in the global clothing industry has led to a de-skilling of the workforce, focusing mainly on the female workforce. She has published Fabriquer le désir. Une histoire de la mode de l’Antiquité à nos jours (2020, Belin), Le livre noir de la mode. Creation, production, manipulation (2021, Les Pérégrines), Les dessous du maillot de bain. Une autre histoire du corps (2022, Les Pérégrines). Her next book will be published in March 2023 Woke Washing: capitalisme, consumérisme, opportunisme.
16:20 – 16:40 Q&A
16:40 – 17:00 Closing Discussion
19:00 Dinner (for Speakers only)
Day 2 December 6, 2022 09:30 - 15:00 Lecture Hall Historical Museum
09:30 – 10:00 Coffee & Informal Welcome to Day 2
10:00 – 10:20
Free ports and the Financialization of Luxury
From Fine Art to Financial Asset
University of Southampton
This presentation begins by elaborating on the nature of free ports, which offer places to store items and materials safely and securely. Additionally, they offer certain tax advantages and the benefits of anonymity. Although such characteristics can be utilized to minimize tax exposure and maximize privacy, they can also be exploited to hide the proceeds of criminal activities. Nevertheless, the increasing number of free ports with facilities to store luxury goods, including fine art, is leading to an acceleration of the financialization of luxury objects. This acceleration is demonstrated through a focus on the use of free ports to store fine art.
Joanne Roberts is Professor in Arts and Cultural Management and Director of the Winchester Luxury Research Group at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK. Her areas of expertise include creativity and innovation, knowledge management, luxury, and international business. Joanne has co-edited several books on luxury, including The Third Realm of Luxury: Connecting Real Places and Imaginary Spaces (Bloomsbury, 2020) and Critical Luxury Studies (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), both co-edited with John Armitage, and, The Oxford Handbook of Luxury Business (Oxford University Press, 2022), co-edited with Pierre-Yves Donzé and Véronique Pouillard.
10:20 – 10:40
The Luxury Freeport as Libertecture
University of Sheffield
In recent years, there has been growing academic and policy interest in tax havens, as well as the worlds of offshore finance and elite tax avoidance more generally. Related to this, researchers have begun to analyse the operations and regulation of luxury freeports, which are facilities for the trade and storage of high-value items such as art, jewellery and vintage cars that are held in a form of legal offshore. Studies have established the potential social harms of these freeports, ranging from negative impacts on tax revenues and facilitating the smuggling of looted cultural artefacts to a risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in these sites. However, substantial gaps remain in our knowledge of luxury freeports. For instance, there has yet to be a comparative study of the local impacts of these facilities that considers their urban planning and design, or their effects on surrounding local urban politics and economics. Likewise, luxury freeports have not yet been conceptualised within a wider framework of spaces sharing common features with regards to their form, function and ideology. This presentation describes a research agenda that is currently underway to address this knowledge gap. It presents the luxury freeport as an archetypical example of ‘libertecture’ (Atkinson and O’Farrell, forthcoming), a form of architecture that realises libertarian ideology in physical and virtual space. Building upon this, a wider discussion of the role of libertecture in social, political and economic futures is introduced.
Liam O'Farrell is a PhD Researcher at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield, he has worked on issues around urban development and inclusion on multidisciplinary projects across Europe, including in the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland and France. As an experienced policy researcher, he has a particular interest in learning from international best practice and understanding how findings can be translated into different cultural contexts. Liam has published on spatial justice and devolution and is currently working on a PhD to gather evidence on the local social, political and economic effects of major luxury freeports in Europe, using the case studies of Geneva, Monaco and Luxembourg. Forthcoming publications include articles on findings from an experimental co-production methodology, work to map individuals' agency in urban transformations, quantifying the role of street art in political protest in Iceland, critical reflections on Icelandic nation-branding, and a co-written article introducing a typology of libertarian architecture.
10:40 – 11:00
This was Not a Legal Problem Until it was a Political Problem
How Politicised Compliance has Facilitated Defiance of Cultural Property Ethics and Law
Samuel Andrew Hardy
Heritage Management Organization
Norwegian Institute in Rome, University of Oslo
There is piecemeal but nonetheless extensive evidence of money laundering as well as illicit money making with cultural goods. Evidence ranges from high-level cases of sanctions evasion and other defiance through transactions with cultural goods, to low-level conversations among looters and traffickers about the process of evading sanctions and its impact on their business model or the corrupt/politicised national/international policing that inspires their legal nihilism. Key figures in transnational organised crime and violent political extremism have engaged in money making and money laundering through the illegal handling of cultural goods and in reputation laundering through the collecting of art and antiquities and the financing of cultural institutions. And, as Ukrainian archaeologist Yakiv Gershkovych observed, the “virus” of antiquities collecting long ago infected the highest levels of the political elite. Whether engaged in as a matter of discreet opulence or conspicuous consumption, this activity exploits cultural capital and causes social harm, in order to demonstrate economic, political and criminal power. From illegal excavation by law enforcement agents to illegal collecting by governing figures, it undermines the rule of law. And these dirty assets not only launder dirty money, but also constitute transferable assets that facilitate impunity in power and flights from justice. At the same time, for as long as kleptocrats’ power lasts, the enforcement of compliance is perverted, as policing (or non-policing) is turned into an instrument of complicity-incentivisation, intelligence-gathering and dissidence-suppression. This paper will consider the evidence and its implications, such as how inconsistent regulation of handling of cultural goods, in responses (or non-responses) to international aggression, internal repression and kleptocracy, undermines compliance, facilitates defiance or encourages defiance.
Samuel Andrew Hardy is a cultural property criminologist, who has worked for UNESCO and NGOs such as the International Council of Museums, as well as universities, and delivered training for law enforcement agents, cultural heritage workers and other concerned professionals. He is now the head of illicit trade research for the Heritage Management Organization and, currently, the honorary fellow in cultural heritage and conflicts in Eastern Europe at the University of Oslo’s Norwegian Institute in Rome. He has conducted interdisciplinary fieldwork research in Kosovo, Cyprus, Turkey and Jordan and other interdisciplinary open-source research into illicit trafficking of cultural objects, political violence towards cultural property and heritage politics in zones of conflict and crisis, particularly in Ukraine and Turkey.
11:10 – 11:20
Priceless Assets of Subversion
Financial Crime and the Valuation of Unique Goods
Crimes involving high-value unique goods, such as luxury items and works of art, have evolved in one surprising way: where the lure for criminals once lay in stealing or forging such objects, it now lies in transforming them into financialized assets, for instance to obscure transactions, to launder money, or to hide wealth and evade international sanctions. This trend of assetization constitutes a move away from market transactions to capital investment, which poses new challenges in the fight against subversive (financial) crime: when high value unique goods are financialized and controlled as revenue streams hidden from regulatory oversight, they can become priceless assets of subversion. Key to the assetization of unique goods is their valuation, upon which subsequent collateralisation, securitization, and derivation depends. To better understand and tackle proven vulnerabilities to subversive (financial) crime, I engage in collaborative research to analyse contested practices of value appraisal, insurance, and accounting, and to examine how they can become corrupted. I study the assetization of high-value artworks (including crypto art and NFTs) to reveal how (non-banking) financial services and legal arbitrage practices facilitate dangerous schemes of subversive crime. Investigating the value appraisal of works of art across professional contexts and different public and private stakeholders from anthropological and sociological perspectives, the research consortium I participate in asks: Which individuals and organisations are involved in appraisal processes? Which devices and techniques do they deploy in appraising art? Which individuals and organisations commission appraisals and for which purposes? These questions aim at 1) mapping the (networks of) actors and the factors of valuation and revaluation processes and practices and 2) understanding the authoritative norms and forms of appraisal expertise. In this talk, I present preliminary results from exploratory research at the Dutch tax authority, as well as at a major Dutch bank.
Christoph Rausch is associate professor at Maastricht University, where he co-founded the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) and the Maastricht Experimental Research in and through the Arts Network (MERIAN). During the academic year 2019-2020, Rausch was visiting researcher at the Centre for Art Market Studies in Berlin. In the fall semester of the academic year 2020-2021, he was visiting research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. Rausch is editor-in-chief of the book series Studies in Art, Heritage, Law and the Market published by Springer. He is a member of the consortium Trends4FI that advises on trends in financial investigation on art and finance and includes participants from Dutch government agencies such as the police, customs, and tax authorities, as well as from major banks and other financial institutions.
11:20 – 11:40
The Nexus of Luxury Wristwatches and Financial Crime
University at Albany
This presentation will examine examples of the use of luxury wristwatches in various kinds of financial crime, including money laundering, political corruption, fraud, theft, tax evasion, and intellectual property crime. It will examine the illicit use of wristwatches through the joint lenses of financial crime, art crime, and consumer goods – recognizing that each of these perspectives is useful for situating this particular class of luxury good in its place among commodities connected to criminal activity. It will examine what characteristics (transportability, fungibility, high-value to small-size ratio, etc.) would make luxury wristwatches appealing to those hoping to engage in financial crime, and how these characteristics differ across different parts of the luxury wristwatch industry. It will also assess how such watches are often used as status symbols and gifts in cases of political and other corruption, and how attempts to limit corruption sometimes impact the industry. Finally, it will look at efforts by major institutions – including auction houses, tax collectors, and police agencies – to respond to crimes involving luxury wristwatches, from compliance to documentation to enforcement.
Brian Nussbaum is an associate professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). He studies and teaches about homeland security, cybersecurity, and intelligence. His research has been published in the Journal of Financial Crime, Computer Law & Security Review, the Journal of Cyber Policy, Public Integrity, Business Horizons, and Global Crime. He formerly served as an intelligence analyst with the state of New York’s homeland security agencies.
11:40 – 12:00 Q&A
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 13:20
Capital Accumulation and Conversion Dynamics on the Heteronomous Field of Art
Tampere University, Finland
The heteronomous art field is intertwined with various social fields, making art an extension of state power as well as a platform for capital accumulation and conversion tactics, touching upon different fields such as business and finance. For years, the art market has been a place of financial speculation (Velthuis & Coslor 2012, Schultheis et al. 2015), and art freeports have offered lucrative opportunities for money laundering and tax avoidance (Helgadóttir 2020, Zarobell 2020). Art provides a platform for ‘artwashing’, which can appear interesting not only to image-building corporate sponsors, but also to individual actors among wealthy elites. The field of art by its very nature enables capital accumulation and conversion across different social fields and scales from local to international and global. Hence, not only economic, but also other forms of capital such as cultural, social and symbolic capital are at play. In this talk, I will discuss Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011-2015, when the pavilion was managed by a representative of Russia’s oligarchic elite also connected to Russia’s security forces. Focusing on this case, I analyze the capital accumulation and conversion dynamics that were involved in the Russian pavilion, and how these dynamics penetrated different scales. This case study serves as an example of how art field enables capital accumulation and conversion of different kind, and how this capacity attracts various actors from other fields beyond the field of art.
Julia Bethwaite is Doctoral Researcher in International Relations at Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. Her research interests focus on the role of art in international relations and world politics, practices of cultural diplomacy and museum diplomacy, transnational cultural relations, elite networks and interaction of state and non-state actors within the transnational field of art. In her doctoral dissertation, she examines art institutions such as the Venice Biennale and fine art museums from the perspective of power, focusing on Russian actors. Besides her doctoral research, she has been working as Academic Coordinator of the Master’s Degree Programme in Leadership for Change at the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University (2017–present).
13:20 – 13:40
Desire, Lure and Transgression
Affective Atmosphere of the Art Fair
Research into white collar engagement with the trade in antiquities ultimately leads to a fundamental unanswered question: why do people consciously, openly, even conspicuously consume antiquities that are very likely to be illicit in some way? Or put another way, why do otherwise upstanding people who don’t consider themselves to be criminals allow themselves to be the end receivers of pathways of looting, theft, and trafficking? One way to explore this question is by considering the affective qualities of the atmosphere of commerce spaces within this market: dealerships, auctions, and of course art fairs. Drawing upon concepts from sensory criminology and broader discussions of affect and field research in European art fairs, biennales, and museums, this paper will present the art fair as a space of commerce masked in the appearance of museum. Within this space, desire is cultivated via an opportunity to transgress against the familiar norms of the museum which fosters the development of a relationship between person and object. In this deeply affective space, rational responses to likely-illicit objects might be suspended. This research supports the developing idea of a “desirescape”: a network of lure and desire created by object/human relationships.
Diāna Bērziņa is a PhD candidate in Criminology at Maastricht University. She holds an MA (Joint Hons.) in Archaeology and History and MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She is also a Researcher on the “Trafficking Transformations: Objects as Agents in Transnational Criminal Networks” project. Her research area is art and heritage crime. Her research currently focuses on exploration of human-object relationships in spaces that mostly are not seen as criminogenic and/or often escape criminology theorisation attempts. These include such diverse topics as metal detecting in Russia, atmosphere of art fairs and the use of the digital space to contest illegality of grey activities.
13:40 – 14:00
Archaeological Heritage at Risk
Poland’s Problem with Treasure Hunters
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
In recent years, there has been a visible growth in interest in the issues associated to the archaeological heritage of Poland, particularly on the part of amateurs. Unfortunately, this has also led to an increase in the number of crimes committed against it. Using current technology that is still in development, these treasure hunters look for ancient artefacts and contribute, sometimes unknowingly, to the theft, fencing, and destruction of archaeological sites. Newly found archaeological artifacts are the property of the Polish state and should be reported immediately to the appropriate state authorities. This is the case regardless of whether the artifacts were discovered through excavation, by coincidence, or both. Even though the law has been tightened and the penalties for crimes against archaeological heritage have increased, the illicit acquisition of artifacts continues to still increase in popularity. This presentation will cover the current condition of the archaeological heritage protection against criminal actions, notably by metal detectors and so-called "treasure hunters". The majority of metal-detectorists do not seek artefacts for financial gain, but rather as a hobby and their private, civil right and duty to assist in the uncovering of Poland's history, as they believe that professionals do not do "enough." As seen by countless posts on their official online forums, a sizable portion believes that archaeologists and cultural heritage management restrict access to a country's history and the free discovery of its heritage, hence contributing to its destruction and loss. It generated a tense and difficult relationship between professionals and amateurs as well as a disturbed sense of criminal culpability. The lecture will examine the roots of this unique situation as well as its intricacies and ambiguities.
Diana Mroczek is currently a second-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań. Her scientific interests include the protection and preservation of archaeological heritage, illicit trade of antiquities and art crime.
14:00 – 14:20
Nothing Owed to Thieves
The Diligence and Defiance of Restitution
Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture
According to the Washington Principles on Nazi-Looted Art, “fair and just” resolution of restitution conflicts at auction depend on the functional and moral practices of the auction house. These principles were established in an effort to create transparency for art market participants by illuminating the dark side of dealing in art with suspicious provenance. However, different actors’ interpretations of “fair and just” often turn contentious. This is due to the fact that despite it being non-legally binding, restitution is a profit-generating (or deleting) compliance department dedicated to providing buyers with good faith purchases and to stop unresolved works from sale. The profitability gained from the unregulated and opaque process of restitution transforms the act from compliant to defiant. In an auction house the restitution department decides whether or not a work can go to sale based on a moral imperative and risk likelihood, ultimately affecting the earning potential of the auction house. However, in a business, the “rightness” or “wrongness” in the inclusion or exclusion of a potentially looted work cannot solely rely on its own justification as a moral directive to be an effective compliance measure. A way to mitigate the damage of viewing restitution as an opaque measure to profit off of moral obligations is to ratify the Washington Principles and to make the research and decision-making process of restitution public. Applying T.M. Scanlon’s theory of reasonable acceptability and Mareike de Goede’s chain of security would be used to validate the moral imperative of restitution while also outlining the risk of ignoring red flags. This would allow the process of restitution to emerge from the shadows of the auction house.
Gabriella Corey is a restitution researcher based in New York and is a PhD candidate with the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH). She holds a Masters degree in art and architectural history from the University of Glasgow and a bachelors from the College of Charleston. After working as a restitution specialist at Sotheby’s in New York, she was a consultant for the US Army Reserves on their “Monuments Men” initiative. Her research interests lie in the moral and ethical obligations and conflicts of restitution in the art market.
14:20 – 14:40 Q&A
14:40 – 15:00 Publication, Way Ahead and Concluding Remarks