Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens

March 26 to June 1, 2010

Horse and Sparrow is a grouping of works that share a common concern with the ways objectivity is performed in economic discourse.


If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.

- John Kenneth Galbraith

Horse and Sparrow is a collaborative project that investigates the requirements for realism in the study of economically-oriented social action. The project concerns itself with producing visual and semantic devices aiming to improve the models, systems, and narratives put forth by economists. However, in a discipline that has long favoured axiomatism over empiricism, theoretical models over field work, and the elegance of mathematical precision over accuracy, we are compelled to wonder: Is the kind of realism required still possible?

Although Horse and Sparrow provides no definitive answers to this and other issues, the devices it does propose should be considered for what they are: trials and errors down the road to a revised - and revived economic theory. Once familiar with the tools developed through the initiatives, we can only hope that economists will recognise their utility and integrate them into practice. A secondary objective is to create greater understanding and friendliness between the economic sciences and the rest of society.

Initiated in 2008 by Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Horse and Sparrow develops through in-house research and field work, as well as through commissions and an Economist-in-Residence program. So far, the initiatives include tables, diagrams, wall-sculptures, videos, and texts presented in academic journals and art publications, as well as at conferences and art exhibitions.

Horse and Sparrow Initiatives

The initiatives proposed by Horse and Sparrow fall into three categories: A) designing tools and devices that communicate economic models and processes, B) researching the representation of economically-oriented social action, and C) producing pedagogical materials concerning fundamental economic concepts. For convenience, they are grouped below according to category of intervention.

Cat. A: Communication

Virtuous Circle I and Virtuous Circle II
Economic Sciences (as a branch of psychology)

Cat. B: Research

Diagrams Concerning the Establishment of a Law
Diagrams Concerning the Representation of Human Time
Side Effects/The True North Strong and Free

Cat. C: Pedagogy

Sesame Street Economics


Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens live and work in Montreal and Vancouver. Their collaborative practice is concerned with re-articulating dominant systems of thought and forms of representation. Their work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at VU (Quebec City, 2010), Vernon Public Art Gallery (Vernon, 2010), Western Front (Vancouver, 2009), European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück, 2009), Labor K1 (Berlin, 2007), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, 2007), Helen Pitt Gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Belkin Satellite (Vancouver, 2007), and Trafó House of Contemporary Art, (Budapest, 2004).