Eulogy for Excellence Convocation

Amsterdam, December 2016

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Eulogy for Excellence Convocation

On the evening of December 1, 2016 the living (not-yet-dead) participants of the Institute for Network Cultures' Moneylab III and their guests were invited to a very special event: the first convocation celebration hosted by the University of the Phoenix, the top-ranked nomadic for-prophet business school dedicated to training the dead and the not-yet-dead to rise up together.

The University, which focuses its curriculum on radical financial literacy and also provides a revenge consultancy, is administered by the artist-activist Cassie Thornton and researcher and writer Max Haiven.

The evening’s highlights included the awarding of an honorary doctoral degree to Hannah Arendt, one of the most influential refugee thinkers of the 20th century. Arendt’s work connects totalitarianism, evil, economics and imperialism, themes very important to the university’s graduates.

“We are thrilled that Hannah Arendt’s spirit joined us,” says Thornton, the University’s Vice President of Student Experience. “She travelled very far to be there. Her wisdom and insights are more important than ever.”

The spirit of the honorary degree recipient was be invited to address the gathering, with the assistance of Dawn Lueck, a gifted medium and anti-debt activist. Lueck was  joined by noted Amsterdam-based media and finance scholars Geert Lovink and Joyce Goggin, who will helped interpret Arendt's spirit’s message.

The evening also included speeches from the university’s administrative staff, a valedictory address by the year’s star student and a special session allowing Moneylab’s not-yet-dead participants to gain financial advice from the University’s graduating students.

How, you may ask?

“We’ve developed a state-of-the-art app to allow our students to speak to the living and bestow financial wisdom from beyond the grave.” Explains Haiven, the University’s Vice President of Research Excellence. “Our researchers have been developing this financial technology for millennia and we were thrilled to debut the prototypes at Moneylab.”

The night culminated with the ritualistic awarding of a scholarship to a person worthy of immediate enrolment at the leading University for the dead, in the hopes that he would liberate his spirit from its fleshly prison and make more positive contributions in the next life.

“The dead have a lot to teach us about the nature of our debts and the power of money and finance,” Thornton explains when asked about the University’s mission. “Creating atmospheres where the not-yet-dead can benefit from this wisdom is vitally important today, but the dead also need to be trained. That’s our role.”

Haiven agrees.

“This may be funny, but it isn’t a joke,” he warns. “The not-yet-dead have depended on the dead for advice forever. Somehow we have the hubris today to imagine we can do without them. But maybe that’s what got us into this mess.”

Audio documentation: Welcoming remarks

Audio documentation: Valedictorian

Audio documentation: Honorary degree recipient Hannah Arendt

Audio documentation: Scholarship to Donald Trump

All images courtesy of the Institute for Network Cultures.