“The analysis of progressive and regressive guilt transformation processes also implies the question of how such processes can be discontinued and remedied. What could, in reality, constitute emancipation? And what constitutes forgiveness? Or waiving economic debts?”  — Thomas Macho, 2012

Debt is the subject of a great deal of debate at the present time. Characterized and accompanied by assignments of guilt, the figures, definitions and emotions that are in play have become entwined in a knot that will be very hard to undo. The transdisciplinary international conference “BONDS: Guilt, Debts and other Liabilities” aims to work out possible directions, questions, dialogues and practical steps to bring more light to the situation.

Driven by the assumption that the current monetary debts and the debates and emotions surrounding them are closely linked to experiences of guilt – with evidence of existential and genealogical guilt, but also the perception of moral and legal guilt – a specific focus is placed on the transdisciplinary dialogue between different approaches from the areas of art, culture, the economy and academia.

In diverse talk and discussion formats, freed from the obligation to make professional assertions, representatives from the fields of anthropology, sociology, cultural history, psychology, economics, finance and the arts have been asked to bring their special expertise and skills to the debate.

An expanded understanding of political, economic, moral and cultural aspects surrounding the complex range of topics pertaining to guilt and debt calls for complementary performance-based and artistic perspectives. And, in interactive systemic constellations, possible positions with respect to guilt and debt will be rendered individually tangible and made visible. Economic theory will be performed on stage in the theatrical piece “Economics of Good and Evil: The Quest for Economic Meaning from Gilgamesh to Wall Street” by Tomáš Sedláček.