In 2011, Sergey Balovin, a Russian artist who settled in Shanghai, announced a new experiment called In KInd Exchange. The experiment demonstrated that the achievement of material wealth is possible without commodity-money relations. And the importance of material goods is exaggerated due to their unobvious availability.
In 2015, on a trip to Italy, Sergey Balovin met his future wife and colleague Claudia Beccato. Claudia agreed to share a life without money. From that moment on, the In Kind Exchange was taken over by the creative duo Balovin & Beccato. After several months of traveling, it was decided to designate the conditional pinnacle of the experiment: the house, as one of the key elements in the category of material wealth. The pinnacle was reached soon.
In 2017, Balovin & Beccato offered a family from the mountain village of Rora to lend them their old farm in exchange for its restoration. The family accepted the offer, and the experiment began with zero budget. The house was restored, filled with furniture and household utensils with no money. Artists and friends who responded to the call to participate in the renovation became the first residents of the Stone Oven House. Collective cooperation formed a commune. In KInd Exchange remained among the topical practices of Balovin & Beccato, but the experiment with a radical rejection of money was completed. Management of the art residence has become a priority area of their activity.
In 2018, restoration began on the neighboring historic estate of Vernarea, which had great potential for a developing project. Since 2020, the residence has been completely moved there.
The house, built from the stones of a destroyed 11th century church and belonged to the Pavarin family. In 1943-1945, the family of an Italian Jew from Turin, Roberto Terracini, escaped here. The owners rented them a room, risking their own lives. Roberto Terracini was a well-known sculptor in Turin and in wartime hid under a pseudonym. He signed his drawings created during his stay in Vernare as Ferraguci. Digital copies of his works, provided by the artist's family, are included in the exposition of the Stone Oven House, along with other artifacts that tell about the unique history of this place.
By painting portraits in exchange for any gifts from the list of useful things without regard to their value, the artist excluded the possibility of applying market labels to his work. The project succeeded and allowed the author to completely abandon the use of money. Everything he needed, from food and clothing, to visas, insurance and airline tickets, appeared as gifts in return for portraits.
In 2013, Sergey Balovin went on a trip around the world without a wallet. In seventeen months, the artist managed to circumnavigate the globe and visited 36 countries without money. After the world tour was done he continued the practice of traveling without money and visited more than a dozen new countries.