The inspiration for the photographic and text-based series, Small Gift. To Give. Giving. Given. Gift, if There is Any…, by Thomas Locher is an examination of the relationship between language and economics as
well as of the subjects acting within this system. The point of departure for this work is Jacques Derrida’s Donner le temps 1. La fausse monnaie (Given Time I: Counterfeit Money), which questions to what extent it is really possible to “give”, especially today, at a time where life appears governed by economic relations and systems of exchange.
Thomas Locher, in turn, analyses Derrida’s text, in which small captions are printed in red typescript underneath photographs culled from the media, interspersed with handwritten annotations in Locher’s own handwriting, commenting on the original text. The photographs, as a third layer of meaning, consist of archival material, taken from
newspapers and magazines, mostly from political rallies. The overarching question asked is: under what conditions does a gift take place? When is
a gift a true gift and thus not accompanied with expectations of any kind? Taking the notion of the gift as a philosophical and semantic point of
departure, Locher uses the complex phenomenon of the gift and the gestures associated with it to highlight the formal and informal forces that bind our society together. He analyses the different facets of the notion of the gift, the belief systems under which these take place and the impact of these notions on the constitution of the subject
and society. Together with this series, Locher also presents a video, HOMO OECONOMICUS, Credit /Trailer (2013), an analysis of the different meanings of the English word “credit,” and its ambiguous and
contradictory definitions. Both these works are part of the artist’s long-term critical exploration of the political implications inherent in the structure of language and how they impact human behavior and
social structures.