Ole Fogh Kirkeby Interview

Danish philosopher Ole Fogh Kirkeby interviewed by Kristian von Hornsleth about the Hornsleth Arms Investment Corporation

KvH: Let me begin with asking you simply, if a public limited company could be regarded as an art work?

OFK: Yes, I would think so.

KvH: Let’s say, if the company sells stocks and the stocks are a pieces of art and the incomings go
exclusively to the arms industry, what do you think about that?

OFK: This project works as sort of an anti-project when comparing it to all the ethical investments and by doing so it reveals clearly a double standard in the economy. At the same time it is realistic art. Furthermore any kind of securities can be view as pieces of art, because they exist in a closed world with reference to other worlds. And that is the way that art exist. Sometimes you can close it down and take it out of the world, where it comes from and place it in another world. When art at a certain time lets the bigger picture represent it self, it will be have the same effect, because the actual picture will go from being an ideal portrait to a non-figuratively picture. It is what it is. And in reality it’s the same with your stocks. In the end they reference themselves to the real world by
being fictional.

KvH: Some critics believe that having a Hornsleth Solution Stock hanging on you wall at home next to other graphical expressions is wrong?

OFK: What’s the difference between that or having a photography hanging, for instance the famous Vietnam-photo, where a person is shot in the head, which a lot of people have? Or a picture of a maimed child?

KvH: But with the stock you show, that you are proud of being share holder of a weapons company?

OFK: In reality it is just an illustrated expression, because you are also part of all the other accidents that happen around the world. You just write off your responsibility, because you’re not formally to blame. But you are just as much part of other accidents around the world. Unless you use your whole life to prevent everything bad thing, shit just happens. It’s just the top of the iceberg or the worst case scenario, of what you actually do, because you are already a share holder in all the arms factories, without having a stock.

KvH: One of the thoughts behind the project is that a possible proceed can be invested in so-called ‘good projects’, so people can apply to use ‘blood money’ to in vest in something good. What do you think of that?

OFK: That I really like. It is in some ways the exact opposite of Judas money. In extreme cases the surplus can be invested in guerrilla armies or drug gangs, so they can buy new weapons. That could be a solution. Another solution - your proposition is better because it keeps showing the double standard that we are in fact accomplices and have a responsibility for everything in the world. So I think it is a genius way to express the responsibility we have started. As long as we don’t use our entire lives to prevent it.

KvH: When the short media wants to know, what you have done with your project, what do you tell
them shortly?

OFK: I would say that any human being that doesn’t use their lives to prevent what is happening, and stay critical about everything, is just as much an accomplice, as if you had stocks in the same factory.

KvH: Thank you for your time!

Ole Fogh Kirkeby
Professor, M.A. and Dr. phil.
Copenhagen Business School
Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy