December 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Periodical Review #5—Pallas Projects & NCAD Gallery

Rachael Campbell-Palmer, Liam Crichton, Mark Curran, Cian Donnelly, Caroline Doolin, Brian Duggan, Gabhann Dunne, Glenn Fitzgerald, Gemma Fitzpatrick, Timothy Furey, Eileen Gray, Seán Grimes, Siobhán Hapaska, Jacqueline Holt, Kevin Lindsay, Eilis McDonald, Lucy McKenna, Eva Rothschild, Gary Shaw

Selected by Anne Kelly, Daniel Jewesbury, Gavin Murphy & Mark Cullen

6–8pm, Friday 11th December 2015

Gallery hours
Please see gallery websites for hours and Christmas closing

An artwork, like a book, is not made up of individual words on a page each of which with a meaning, but is instead “caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences” †

Not a group exhibition per se, Periodical Review is a discursive action, with the gallery as a magazine-like layout of images that speak (the field talking to itself). This is the exhibition as resource, in which we invite agents within the field to engage with what were for them significant moments, practices, works, activity, objects: nodes within the network.

Periodical Review is an annual survey of recent Irish art, selected in collaboration with invited curators/peers from around Ireland. Each year, Pallas Projects invite two peers – artists, writers, educators, curators – to review and subsequently nominate a number of art practices, selected via an editorial meeting. Such a review-type exhibition within Irish art practice acts to revisit; to be a reminder, a critical appraisal and consolidation of ideas and knowledge; to facilitate and encourage collaboration, crossover and debate.

In looking at self-organized exhibitions, off-site projects, commercial gallery and museum shows, Periodical Review looks to share a spectrum of practices, creating dialogue and critical reflection to help develop and support Irish contemporary art as a whole; and to act as an accessible survey of contemporary art for a wider audience, expanding the experience of art practices from around the country.

Daniel Jewesbury (b. London, 1972) studied Fine Art at NCAD and moved to Belfast in 1996, where he’s worked as an artist, writer, editor and curator ever since. Daniel was a co-editor of Variant from 2000 to 2012, was a prolific contributor to Belfast’s satirical newspaper The Vacuum, and has been published in journals including Third Text, the Edinburgh Review and Art & Research. He is currently researching the relationships between death and desire in the modern city, for a major exhibition he is curating in 2016. Daniel is employed as a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Ulster.

Anne Kelly is Programme Curator at the NCAD Gallery, National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2011–). She has previously worked independently as a curator, artist, educator and arts manager on a wide range of exhibitions, projects and live events; and has also held positions at Kerlin Gallery, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Sculptors Society of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University, all Dublin. She is the recipient of Arts Council of Ireland, and CREATE: National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts and County Council awards. Kelly is an NCAD Fine Art graduate and earned an MSc in Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin.

Previous co-curators of Periodical Review: Mary Conlon (Ormston House) & Paul Hallahan (artist & independent curator); Matt Packer (Glucksman/Treignac/CCA) & Michele Horrigan (Askeaton Contemporary Arts); Eamonn Maxwell (Director, Lismore Castle Arts) & Padraic E. Moore (Independent curator), Ruth Carroll (RHA) & Carl Giffney (Good Hatchery).

† Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge

Further information NCAD Gallery & Pallas Projects.

Periodical Review #5 is an initiative of Pallas Projects in collaboration with NCAD Gallery. Pallas Projects 2015 programme is supported by Dublin City Council

Dedicated to editor, educator, art writer, colleague & friend, Jason Oakley (1968-2015)

Mediating Precariousness

November 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Global Capitalism and the Challenge of Well-Being in the World
is theme of this year’s SEG (Swiss Ethnological Association) annual international conference being held at
Institute of Social Anthropology
University of Bern, Switzerland
from Thursday to Saturday, November 12-14 2015.


Mark Curran has been invited to present as part of the panel: ‘Mediating Precariousness: Creative Ethnographic Practices in an Era of Crisis’ along with speakers Darcy Alexander, Andrew Irving and Claire Vionnet. The panel have been invited by the media anthropologist, Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble (University of Bern).

Full details are available here.

The Economy of Appearances @ LCGA (Installation)

October 1, 2015 § Leave a comment


In this major exhibition, The Economy of Appearances, Curran draws these projects together for the first time, expanding the enquiry with newly commissioned work completed in Amsterdam. Incorporating photographs, film, sound, artifactual material and testimony, themes include algorithmic machinery of financial markets, as innovator of this technology, absorption of crises as normalisation of deviance, and long range mapping and consequences of financial activity distanced from citizens and everyday life.
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Curran filmed in the new financial district of Zuidas on the southern periphery of the Dutch capital – a global centre for algorithmic trading. Adapted from a text by former trader and now financial activist, Brett Scott, which examines High Frequency Trading (HFT) and how the input of human values, are excluded, the voiceover and title of the film are inspired by Scott’s essay, Algorithmic Surrealism. The film suggests the hegemony of HFT and the extinction of human reason or intelligence – human strengths that also include traits such as empathy and ethical behaviour – in Market decisions will both perpetuate and render more extreme the power relations of minority wealth in globalised capitalist systems


Through the application of an algorithm identifying the words “market” and/or “markets” in public speeches by relevant national Ministers of Finance, the data is then transformed to create the installation soundscape. To date, algorithmic translations of Michael Noonan (Ireland), George Osborne (United Kingdom), Pierre Moscovici (France) and Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Netherlands & Eurozone Group President) have been included in exhibitions in those countries. Curran activates the popular graphic representation of such circumstance through a 3D visualisation/virtualisation of the algorithmically-generated soundscape—The Economy Of Appearances—to represent contemporary financial capital functioning through the conduit of the financialised nation state.

Financial Surrealism (WTC), Zuidas Financial District, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015, (A4 double-sided colour print) (text on reverse)

Financial Surrealism (WTC)
Zuidas Financial District, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2015
(A4 double-sided colour print)
(text on reverse)

…in the case of the Netherlands, most of the Dutch shadow banking sector…is set-up by corporations for tax purposes, to attract external funding and to facilitate intragroup transactions…the focus of the shadow banking entities located in Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands is the euro area, or even global.

While the relative importance of the euro area shadow banking sector has risen significantly since 2007, it remains smaller than the regulated banking system. Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Ireland are the exception: the shadow banking sector assets in these three countries are substantially larger than those of the regulated banking system, accounting for almost two-thirds of the entire euro area shadow banking system. Credit through non-bank channels can have important advantages and contributes to the financing of the real economy, but can also become a source of systemic risk…

(source Banking Structures Report (2008-2013), European Central Bank, October 2014)

Shadow Banking

Many financial institutions that act like banks are not supervised like banks. The term, shadow bank was coined by U.S. economist Paul McCulley in 2007…because they are not subject to traditional bank regulation…they are in the shadows.

They are characterized by lack of disclosure and information about the value of their assets…opaque governance and ownership structures between banks and shadow banks; little regulatory or supervisory oversight…

Shadows can be frightening because they obscure the shapes and sizes of objects within them. The same is true for shadow banks. Estimating the size of the shadow banking system is particularly difficult because many of its entities do not report to government regulators. The shadow banking system appears to be largest in the United States, but nonbank credit intermediation is present in other countries—and growing. The shadow banking system’s share of total global financial intermediation was about 25 percent in 2009.

(source Finance & Development, International Monetary Fund, June 2013 Vol. 50 No.2)


Portrait (Child) from series Stoneybatter (Dublin) August 1998

Text Helen Carey

Algorithm & Sound Composition: Ken Curran
3D Data Visualisation: Damien Byrne
Film Editor: Lidia Rossner
Film script adapted by Mark Curran from original essay by Brett Scott
Voice: Claudia Schäfer

Thanks to Arts Council Ireland, Noorderlicht Photography, NEPN (University of Sunderland), Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Gallery of Photography & Culture Ireland

Mark Curran The Economy of Appearances
4 September–30 October 2015
Opening: Thursday, 3 September
Limerick City Gallery of Art
Carnegie Building
Pery Square

Full information here.

The Economy of Appearances @ Limerick City Gallery of Art

September 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

LCGA e-vite The Economy of Apperances Mark Curran curated by Helen Carey

Opening Thursday, 3 September

‘In Mark Curran’s practice, projects unfold over time. (Since the late nineties) Curran has undertaken a cycle of long-term, ethnographically-informed multimedia research projects addressing the predatory context resulting from migrations and flows of global capital…in this major exhibition, The Economy of Appearances, he draws these projects together for the first time, while expanding the enquiry with newly commissioned work completed in Amsterdam. Incorporating photographs, film, sound, artifactual material and testimony, themes include algorithmic machinery of financial markets, innovator of this technology, absorption of crises as normalisation of deviance, and long range mapping and consequences of financial activity distanced from citizens and everyday life…’
Helen Carey

E-Flux announcement & full text here. Continuing until 30 October

Limerick City Gallery of Art
Carnegie Building
Pery Square

Thanks to Arts Council of Ireland, Noorderlicht (Netherlands), NEPN (University of Sunderland, UK), Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Belfast Exposed, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Gallery of Photography & Culture Ireland

Algorithm Design & Sound Composition Ken Curran, 3D Data Visualisation Damien Byrne, Editor Lidia Rossner, Voice Claudia Schäfer Script adapted from an original essay by Brett Scott

Algorithmic Surrealism 2015 (digital still)
(Single channel HD digital video, colour, sound/voiceover)
Zuidas Global Financial District, Amsterdam, Netherlands


April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

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As part of this event occurring at the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) in London on Saturday, April 25th, Mark Curran has been invited to present on his practice-led research in relation to THE MARKET.

The intention of this, the first of a series, is to

bring together anthropologists, accountancy scholars, literature scholars and artists using anthropological concepts and ethnographic methods in their work…to explore past, present and possible artistic techniques for visualizing information in capital markets, tracking offshore financial flows, and mapping relatedness among financial elites.

Other contributors include, Brett Scott (co-organiser), Paolo Quattrone, Femke Herregraven, Paul Crosthwaite, Paolo Cirio, Gemma Aellah & Paul Gilbert (co-organiser).

Final programme is available here.
Biographies of all speakers is here.

This is a free event and open to the public. Full details can be found here.

With support from the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT).

(Image: Installation of THE MARKET: A project by Mark Curran, Belfast Exposed Gallery, 2013)

STUDYING UP (from Capital At Work: Methodology in THE MARKET*)

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment


Envelope & Paperclip, December 2011 (Letter from Irish Ambassador to Germany requesting support and project access from Deutsche Börse AG) from THE MARKET, a project by Mark Curran

In the context of a study of power and finance regarding a globalised hegemony, a central methodological reference for THE MARKET (2010-) has been the proposal by the anthropologist, Laura Naderfor studying up. In her article published in 1972, Nader appealed for a critical repatriated anthropology, through:

What if, in reinventing anthropology, anthropologists were to study the colonizers rather than the colonized, the culture of power rather than the culture of the powerless, the culture of affluence rather than the culture of poverty?

Principally studying the most powerful strata of urban society…and instead of asking why some people are poor, we would ask why other people are so affluent (1972: 289).

Nader argued that by not ‘studying up’ would limit the ability to form ‘adequate theory and description’ (ibid.: 290) and while she further framed her argument in terms of citizenship and democracy, her appeal has methodological implications, namely, concerning access:

the powerful are out of reach on a number of different planes: they don’t want to be studied; it is dangerous to study the powerful; they are busy people; they are not all in one place, and so on (ibid.: 302).


Void Visitors Pass, Deutsche Börse AG March 2012, Eschborn (Frankfurt), Germany from THE MARKET, a project by Mark Curran

In such a potentially limiting context, the possibility for long-term engagement in the form of, for example, participant observation can be severely hampered. However, Nader argued that such limitations should not define the subject of research and advocated a more multivariant approach, including the use of personal documents, memoirs, chance encounters, discussion, interviews and public relations documents amongst others. In the context of power, I would assert such limitations regarding access embody significant critical meaning regarding the focus of study. Over 20 years later, the anthropologist, Hugh Gusterson, revisited Nader’s appeal, elaborating for what he defined as a polymorphous engagement (1997: 116):

The ethnography of the powerful needs to consist of interacting with informants across a number of dispersed sites, not just local communities, and sometimes in virtual form; and it means collecting data eclectically from a disparate array of sources in many different ways such as… formal interviews…extensive reading of newspapers and official documents…careful attention to popular culture, as well as informal social events outside of the actual corporate office or laboratory. (ibid.: 116).


from THE MARKET, Gallery of Photography, Dublin (installation image by Jamin Keogh)

Drawing on Gusterson, the cultural anthropologist, Karen Ho, incorporated such a methodological approach in her excellent study, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street**, published in 2009. Elaborating on her previous career in investment banking, Ho drew on her personal professional network and included encounters at business events, conferences, college reunions, interviews to simple ‘rich, informal anecdotes gained from chatting’ (2009: 21). Such a methodological engagement regarding an ethnography of the powerful, I would argue, could further critically benefit from representational strategies assembled according to the principle of montage or multivocality as asserted by the visual ethnographer, Sarah Pink – ‘representations that incorporate the multilinearity of research and everyday lives’ (2001: 117). Pink continues regarding such fragmented experience:

reality is, in fact, continuous and subjectively experienced, at best, one can only reconstruct fragments of a subjective experience of reality, representations of knowledge are never complete (ibid.: 167).


from THE MARKET, Gallery of Photography, Dublin (installation image by Jamin Keogh)

Therefore, to formulate representations of research which are open- ended and to paraphrase Michael Taussig, which is not necessarily about reality but whose effects may be real.

*Extract from Curran, M. (2013) Capital At Work: Methodology in THE MARKET in Kirwan, G. (ed.)(2013) An Anthology of IADT Research, IADT, Dublin, 28 – 37. Available HERE

** Ho’s central argument is that Wall Street investment bankers reshape corporate America in their own image, and through the construction of the market, result in the manufacture of crises while simultaneously, ‘assuring its rescue’ (2009: 323). In this, as she defines, economy of appearances, Ho outlines operating structures, the significance regarding ‘pedigree’, citizen complicity and the critical role of fear in this culture of liquidity (ibid.).

Conversation (extract) The City, London March 2013

December 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

You have no money in your education system, that’s us (‘the markets’), you have no money in your health system, that’s us…you have no money for culture, that’s us…it’s everything. 

(from fieldnotes of conversation with Senior Trader, Cafe, The City, London, March 2013)
from ‪THE MARKET‬.

Full transcripts, THE MARKET (installation image)

Full transcripts, THE MARKET (installation image)

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