In his performance Retro Liberalism, Keller turns to the origins of liberalism. He examines the liberal idea by using the founding father Adam Smith and his two works The Wealth of Nations and the theory of ethical feelings. The title retro liberalism is to be understood as a reversal of neoliberalism and is intended to make it possible to put Smith's idea up for discussion again from today's perspective. A look back is imperative as many of Smith's original thoughts have perished or been perverted over time. A new holistic reading of Smith's work is therefore appropriate.
Smith's liberalism has deep anthropological roots. Smith sees himself as a social, empathetic being who needs community
understands them as part of them and is therefore also committed to them. Good faith, fairness and respect are normative anchors of liberalism. Smith sees “prosperity for all” as the goal, and competition is the means to work towards that goal together. The liberalism shaped by Smith is thus much more complex than the contemporary neo-liberal form, which is only for monetary gain and does not care about the effects on people and the environment.
In 2015, Keller spent a long time in Japan, a highly developed country that has been characterized by economic stagnation that has now lasted 25 years. Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world and therefore an ideal biotope to investigate mechanisms described by Smith, such as swarm intelligence or the invisible hand that is intended to keep the markets in order. Keller has dealt with these questions in Japan
looked around and developed a Japanese-influenced reading of Smith's liberalism that is familiar and alien at the same time. Observations from everyday life in Tokyo flow into the performance as well as elements from the Kabuki theater. Retro liberalism is a performance
the basement during the exhibition action!
with two actors and will perform at the end. It is a work of art that changes on a daily basis and is shown to visitors in very different facets: from the development phase to the rehearsals to the performances at the end of the exhibition.