The Bartlett School of Architecture


Exchanging Values at Bank

Shivani Shah

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Exchanging Values at Bank is a collaborative movement piece in which five dancers embody the rhythms of passing workers in the City of London to measure land value through choreography, performed to an audience seated at the plinth of the Bank of England. 

At this site of hyper-monetary exchange, the project seeks to physically and conceptually reconfigure terms of ‘exchange’. It frames the human body as the value imparting element in capitalist society, land as the element on which value is imparted and human movement as the point of exchange between land and labour to produce value.

The project responds to the strategies used by real estate developers for explaining land value calculations. Intentionally mystifying language supported by seductive digital renderings aims to derive the highest economic value from a piece of land and create blind spots used by developers as opportunities to distort the projected values of land.

Exchanging Values at Bank reveals an alternative measure of the value of land. It comprises an artist’s book analysing movement to demystify economic terms, a video walking through a digital model of the static on the site, and a live intervention using human movement to cause momentary shifts in the land value and raise consciousness among passers-by.

This project has been in collaboration with Camilla Isola, Gladys Wen, Iris Anthasiadi and Sophie Holland.


1. Iris in Bank. Shivani Shah, 2019
2. Bodies on the plinth. Shivani Shah, 2019
3. Embodying land values – performance at the Bank of England. Shivani Shah, 2019. Photography (courtesy of Jan Kattein)