The Free Lunch Commission
The world is spinning faster than ever before and we are clinging on to an increasingly confusing explanation of why and where we are heading. In order to have a better understanding of the problems we face, The Free Lunch Commission will address one topic at the time and not only will we look at them, but we will also take part in the action by doing a series of experiments conducted by the most skilled minds from engineers to artists, scientists and designers.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A JOURNEY
* “TRAGEDY IS WHEN I CUT MY FINGER. COMEDY IS WHEN YOU FALL INTO A SEWER AND DIE.”
Interviewer: Professor, two weeks ago the world seemed fine...
T. W. Adorno: Not to me.
—Der Spiegel, May 5, 1969
There is such a thing as a free lunch. You are holding it in your hands. THE FREE LUNCH is a curated update on the state of things. It’s a magazine, or as we like to call it, a coffee-table fanzine. We mix politics, science, art, finance, fashion, and all kinds of shenanigans. But we are adamant about keeping it from escaping into postmodern anything goes. No! No! No! More than a print publication, THE FREE LUNCH is intended as the outreach tool of an ever-growing, playfully subversive, mysteriously omnipresent movement we christened THE FREE LUNCH COMMISSION. We founded this commission to create projects that deal with important contemporary topics. Our aims and the commission’s output will manifest in different formats, transforming and adapting over time, growing into various products, services, artworks, and forms of activism. The print magazine’s task in the heterogeneous world of the commission is to create narrative coherence of the projects and thoughts we come across. THE FREE LUNCH is a prism, offering context to our efforts. It reviews where we stand, rooted in the commission’s vision of the future. No easy answers exist to today’s complex problems, and to make a difference, we need to look at them from different perspectives —scientific, cultural, fictional, political, artistic, economical, and comical*. We offer access to a new form of artistic laboratory. Our success shall not be measured in numbers of readers, but in numbers of new collaborators and allies. The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response have been accompanied by a massive infodemic—an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. The emphasis of our first issue is the dissection of the concept of trust. What does trust mean during the shattering of privacy, the dawn of “alternative” news and realities, pandemic angst, and the crisis of the bourgeois economy? What does it stand for, besides a warm feeling from bygone times? Who is left to trust or distrust? The authorities? The elites? The forces of reason? The voices of dissent? We talked to top-notch thinkers and doers in the arena of critical analysis and artistic practice about their perspective on trust. Additionally, we found it only fitting to launch our endeavor by asking you to trust us. So, turn the pages, have a look, dive in, pick a side, and join the commission. Educate, agitate, organize!
Johannes Grenzfurthner (EDITOR IN CHIEF AND LICENSED HETEROTROPH)