10 February - 10 May 2016

Heterogeneous languages and grammars to put the category of surplus value into focus, to explore the field of excess and disproportion, extractive practices and tensions in processes of economic value assignment.

10 February 2016
Istituto Svizzero di Roma

Christian Marazzi

Introduction to Surplus Value


The history of surplus value in political economics from the origins to the challenges of globalization and financialization. An interpretation of the capital cycle and its crises, internal imbalances through historical solutions, social and institutional modes with which an attempt has been made to solve the conundrum of the creation of additional demand.

The category of surplus value suggests a contradiction between forms of labor, between the labor contained in wage-goods and labor controlled by capital. To appreciate its historical-political impact, it is worth going back to the contribution of the Physiocratic economists, the first to raise the question of the net product and the monetary circuit, and to the classical economists, Smith and Ricardo, whom Marx studied from a class perspective. Thanks to the impossibility of logically solving the Marxian contradiction, it will be possible to discuss the three forms capital has developed across history to govern the contradiction, especially in its monetary manifestation: imperialism, the welfare state and financialization. How does this crisis of measure that is surplus value present itself today?



H. 10,30 – 13,00

History of Surplus value in the political economy

through internal imbalances of the capital



H. 15,00  – 18,00

The creation of additional demand

within globalization and economic financialization


[Download PDF]

March 13 2016
Cinema Azzurro Scipioni, via degli Scipioni 82, Rome

Studio Roma on Screen

Film Program

Surplus Value: Relations of Production in World Cinema


Studio Roma 2016 is facing the theme of surplus value, exploring the field of excess and disproportion,  extractive practices and tensions in processes of economic value assignment. The notion of surplus value has famously been used by Marx to describe the difference between the value created by the worker  and his labour-cost, appropriated by the capitalist as income. By striving to gain a more of profit out  of this relation of expropriation, capitalist economy has constantly produced a more of human, social and environmental costs. The films of this geographically and historically diverse program, that comprises  documentary, fiction and experimental formats, focus on this negative surplus. Starting from scenes of  manual work in the 21st century, the program goes back to images of slavery, the Great Depression of the 1930s and colonialism in Africa to end with the production of  violence in contemporary China.


Films: Workingman’s Death by Michael Glawogger; Capitalism: Slavery by Ken Jacobs; Nieuwe Gronden by Joris Ivens; Afrique 50 by René Vautier; Tian Zhu Ding – A Touch of Sin di Jia Zhangke.


Clemens Klopfenstein: Geschichte der Nacht 

The research of Studio Roma 2016 crosses the  metropolitan territories where economic valorisation  unfolds in a multiplicity of forms between production  and society. Starting from this research on the urban  spaces,  we will screen La Luce Romana Vista da  Ferraniacolor, an experimental color film shot by Clemens Klopfenstein,  resident of Istituto Svizzero in  1974, on the rooftop of Villa Maraini in Rome. Then, the screening of  Geschichte der Nacht  (Story of Night), a film where the spectator can observe how night time  structures the spaces of 15 cities from Basel to Belfast,  from Helsinki to Rome. After the movie, a conversation between the filmaker and film scholar Simon Koenig.


Films: La luce romana vista da Ferraniacolor; Geschichte der Nacht by Clemens Klopfenstein.



15.00    Introduction by Cyrill Miksch

15.10    Workingman’s Death (A/D 2005), Michael Glawogger, 122′

17.40    Capitalism: Slavery (USA 2007), Ken Jacobs, 3′

            Nieuwe Gronden (NL 1933), Joris Ivens, 36′

            Afrique 50 (F 1950), René Vautier, 17′

20.00    Introduction by Simon Koenig

20.10    La luce romana vista da Ferraniacolor (CH 1974), Clemens Klopfenstein, 17′

            Geschichte der Nacht (CH / D / F / I 1978), Clemens Klopfenstein, 63′

21.30    Conversation with Clemens Klopfenstein and Simon Koenig

22.30    Tian Zhu Ding – A Touch of Sin (PRC 2013), Jia Zhangke, 133′


All films will be screened in original language with subtitles. Free admission

Cinema Azzurro Scipioni
via degli Scipioni 82, Rome – map


 [Download PDF]

Till March 31 2016

Other Hypotheses on Value and Surplus Value

Call for paper

A call for papers on specific case studies, for reflection and intervention on the research theme of Studio Roma 2016, for a publication scheduled for the fall. Contributions in different forms are encouraged: articles, reports, interviews, videos, photographic coverage and others. 


International publication / Special issue

November 2016


Value and surplus value in aesthetic experience, artistic practice and academic research

Value, quality and excellence are terms one often runs across when talk turns to the arts, research and universities. Whether the matter at hand is to set criteria of evaluation or to discuss aesthetic experience, the notion of value – measurable or surplus – cyclically resurfaces in the cultural debate. In the growing functionalization and measurability of university research, parallel to the gradual academization of the so-called art world, can the notion of surplus value be the key with which to investigate the production of scientific knowledge and artistic practice? Where every discourse on the value of an intellectual works seems to be transformed today into a discussion on the discourse that is produced around that work, is it possible to make communicative, moral, ethical and social values (and so on) the terrain of study of the added value of the artwork – or the value added to the artwork? Can the category of surplus value be useful to problematize the process of appraisal and to assert alternative values to the classic one of economics, of the equivalence rather than the exploitation of scientific research for commercial ends? Starting with these questions, Studio Roma calls to investigate new paths and to observe the production of knowledge in the time of crisis of contemporary liberal democracies.


This international call for papers invites proposals for contributions addressing the question of value and surplus value in aesthetic experience, artistic practice and academic research. Topical contributions that offer case-specific observations, reflections, and interventions are particularly welcome. Proposals should take the form of extended abstracts (max. 1000 words, excluding bibliography, English language).


Possible topics for papers include but are not limited to:

• How value and surplus value are generated and negotiated, discussed and contested in current practices of art, research, and/or artistic research;

• Surplus value’s heuristic role to investigate the production of scientific knowledge and artistic practice;

• From exploitation to equivalence: scientific research out of (or before) commercial ends;

• How communicative, moral, ethical and social values (and so on) may be studied as the added value of works of research and artwork – or the value added to both;

• Discussing the process of appraisal within an alternative frame with respect to classic economics;

• The notion of surplus value and the metropolitan space as a site of production and economic valorization;

• City planning, issues of social housing and practices of reappropriation of urban space;

• Labour conflict and social struggle in the city, related to informal economy, production and trade;

• Logistics and the circulation of commodities as a field in which to explore the production of surplus value and contemporary capitalism;

• Conditions and circumstances, forms and categories of values and surplus value: production, extraction, exploitation, appropriation, expropriation, speculation, etc.


This list of questions is open-ended. Contributions of related interest will of course also be considered. Studio Roma encourages contributions in a variety of formats including articles, notes, interviews, photo essays, among others. Accepted materials that do not match with standard publication formats will be published online on the Studio Roma website. Work-in-progress on value and surplus value in art, research, and/or artistic research that may change received understandings of (e)valuation, worth, and values will be of particular interest.


Deadline for submission of proposals: 31 March 2016

Please send an abstract in English of no more than 1000 words and a short biography to: studio.roma[at]istitutosvizzero.it. For additional information, please contact us at this same email address.

Authors of the selected contributions will be notified by 15 April 2016. The submission deadline for the full contributions is 30 June 2016. Scheduled publication date: November 2016.


Download the call for paper

Gallery: Christian Marazzi - Introduction to surplus value - 10 February 2016
Gallery: Studio Roma On Screen, Film review - 13 March 2016