Interview with Justo Ortega (JO) and Borja Zabala, the lawyers of the Gran Trueque

Catalogue Plan B. De Apple, abril-mayo 2000

Matthieu Laurette

JO: Initially, you presented the project to us as the setting up of a possible series of exchanges or swaps. Evidently, making an exchange isn’t a problem...quite simply, it involves somebody giving something to someone else and that’s the end of the deal. What was being suggested was more difficult: that the exchange should take place over a period of time, on various occasions, and should be screened on television.

JO: This project involves bringing back into use a legal form of trading that had fallen into disuse: la permuta (barter), or el trueque (exchange). This is really interesting. Modern day life and the insurgence of money in our culture has stopped exchanges of goods from taking place. At a social level it is more acceptable to exchange things for money. At both a social and political level this entails a greater control over everything. Everything goes through the National Bank which issues the money, you have to go through the bank which issues the cheque.

JO: The possibility of copyrighting ideas on a world-wide level exists, it’s called intellectual property. Evidently, anyone who writes a book or makes a film has the performance rights in every thing related to the book or film. The same applies to someone who makes a television programme or has any other idea that can be exploited. There are laws at a European level in order to protect intellectual property. Rights over ideas are covered also by the Human Rights Charter of the United Nations. The right that whoever has an idea, can profit from it and control how it is exploited.