Derivatives are a common instrument in the financial market mainly for the purposes of speculating and hedging, or betting on or insuring against risk. They are a contract between two parties that specifies conditions—in particular, dates and the resulting values of the underlying variables—under which payments, or payoffs, are to be made between the parties.1 Derivatives have been an entirely unregulated segment of the financial industry and played a significant role in the economic collapse in 2008. These financial products became an unrestricted avenue for financial firms like Goldman Sachs and AIG to gamble on the risk of default by mortgage holders by both speculating and hedging, often at the same time. It was entirely possible to insure a bet, thanks to credit default swaps. The firms that were bailed out in 2008, when they lost those bets and forced the Federal Government to cover them, continue to make profits while $ 11 trillion in household wealth vanished.
In the art world, 'derivative' is both a pejorative word used to describe works that are insufficiently original and a common method of determining value by establishing artistic lineage ie; "Urs Fischer is the next Jeff Koons". Art is also an investment tool involving an unspoken contract between two parties with assumptions about the resulting values of the underlying variables of a particular work or artist.
The works in the exhibition are derived from other sources both public and private that explore how value is also derived in different economies from underlying variables including philosophy, belief, ideology, and perception.