TAXED TO THE MAX – NOORDERLICHT 2019 (NL)

October 5, 2019 § Leave a comment

70261065_2819793174701995_1276932964382408704_n
at least you are not afraid to live life on the brink of chaos
Groningen
THE NETHERLANDS
OCTOBER 6 – DECEMBER 1 2019
Offical opening October 5th
‘The 26th edition examines the societal tensions created by international conglomerates with their vast accumulations of capital and their influence on national and global politics. TAXED TO THE MAX asks: how does the increasingly perfected entanglement of corporatism, finance capital and modern government affect the lives of regular people?’

Incorporating photographic series, mixed media, video and sound installations, performances, and spatial work on this theme, artists include amongst others, Alan Gignoux, Brigitte de Langen, David Klammer, Davide Monteleone, Dorothée Elisa Baumann, Ezio D’Agostino, Gina Peyran Tan, Igor Tereshkov, Ishan Tankha, John Vink, Jos Jansen, Kanad Chakrabarti, Mari Bastashevski, Mark Curran, Martin Toft, Oliver Ressler & Zanny Begg, Thomas Kuijpers & Ursula Biemann.

This edition will include installation of The Breathing Factory (2002-2006) at the Centrum Beeldende Kunst (CBK) Groningen. The project was originally supported by Arts Council, Belfast Exposed, Butler Gallery & Gallery of Photography & published by Edition Braus (2006)

The Breathing Factory critically addresses the role and representation of labour and global labour practices in this newly industrialised landscape as manifest in manufacturing and technology. Global industrial practices are characterised by fleeting alliances, transient spaces as capital moves when and as required. In such an ephemeral, precarious and globalised context, the project focuses specifically upon the Hewlett-Packard Manufacturing and Technology Campus, part of a cluster formation of multinational technology complexes, in Leixlip in the east of Ireland’

The Breathing Factory was the outcome of practice-led masters & doctorate research, one of the first in the Republic of Ireland. More information here.

Full PDF of book available for free download here.

 

‘A FUTURE YET TO COME’ (1999-2001)

August 28, 2019 § Leave a comment

‘This collection of critical essays explores the literary and visual cultures of modern Irish suburbia, and the historical, social and aesthetic contexts in which these cultures have emerged. The lived experience and the artistic representation of Irish suburbia have received relatively little scholarly consideration and this multidisciplinary volume redresses this critical deficit’
Published by Palgrave Macmillan & edited by Eoghan Smith & Simon Workman, contributors include, Mary P. Corcoran, Michael Cronin, Theresa Wray, Justin Carville, Mark Curran & Anthony Haughey.
The title of my chapter is SOUTHERN CROSS: Documentary Photography, the Celtic Tiger and a Future yet to Come which focuses on my first long-term project SOUTHERN CROSS, completed between 1999-2001 in the Dublin & county region. The project was exhibited and published for the first time by Gallery of Photography/Cornerhouse.

My subjects, a new era is about to dawn. I, Bloom, tell you verily it is even now at hand, let yea, on the word of Bloom, ye shall ere long enter into the Golden City which is to be the new Bloomusalem in the Nova Hibernia of the future.1

One evening in the summer of 1998, I was standing on a doorstep having a conversation with my elderly neighbour, Kathleen. She described how her granddaughter, the first in five generations, could not afford to live in the area where she was born. The location, one of the oldest neighbour- hoods on the north side of Dublin, was experiencing the initial stages of a process, marking the urban evolution and impact of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy, a period since characterised in the description of the appearance of countless cranes elevated across the city skyline 2. Over the following month, in response to that conversation, I began to make portraits of children and young people in the area.

Portrait (A Child) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Portrait (A Child) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Possessing no front gardens, the street was the primary setting to gather, converse and play. So, at first, I approached those people I knew, made a request and then photographed each—always approximating eye level, gaze directed towards the lens—as they presented themselves to the camera. The timing was always at dusk with cranes in the background. An impulsive reaction using photography to ask questions about the economic circum- stance, and who benefits? And mindful of the significance of the age of those portrayed—critically, whose future?3 I would not then realise that this was really the beginning of a cycle of research projects, which themati- cally addressed the predatory context, resulting from flows and migrations of global capital, that continues to the present day.4 As the Irish poet Theo Dorgan would later state of this time: ‘I was born in a Republic to realise that I live in an Economy’.

Portrait (Youth) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Portrait (Youth) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Mindful of Dorgan’s stark declaration, and wishing to acknowledge the significance of hindsight when critically reflecting upon a project that began almost two decades ago, I discuss here the context and rationale for SOUTHERN CROSS, with reference to the theoretical role of documentary photography and the photographic portrait. In turn, I position the project as a critical document that questioned the sustainability of the economic circumstances of the Republic at the turn of the new millennium.

Portrait (A Child) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Portrait (A Child) (c-print) from the series Stoneybatter (Dublin), August 1998

Completed between 1999 and 2001, SOUTHERN CROSS was a critical response to the rapid economic development witnessed in the Republic of Ireland. The official Irish economic policy of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) had over several decades brought about the largest transformation in the history of the country. Focused on Dublin and its county region, the project critically mapped and sur- veyed the spaces of development and finance. The project comprised two series. The first is ‘Site’, which explored the transitory spaces between the construction sites, which I described at the time as ‘what was’ and ‘what will be’, viewing them as the ‘birthing grounds of the New Ireland’. As a counterpoint, the series ‘Prospect’ surveyed the State’s first financial district, the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). Since the 1990s, the IFSC had been a flagship for global capital and is itself the architectural embodiment of the ‘New Ireland’.5 The title of the project was inspired by the motorway of the same name, which now encircles Dublin. Originally, it was proposed to be built in the early 1980s, near where I lived by the Dublin Mountains. However, due to massive local objection (including my parents), it was postponed for almost twenty years. Thus, I was drawn to the title partially as result of this personal understanding but also because the project was made in the Republic, the South of the island, so ‘Southern’ was geographically relevant. The reference to ‘Cross’ asked whether the new religion of the Republic was embodied in Capital. Representing the economic aspirations and profound changes of a country on the western periphery of Europe, this documentary project presented this area and those who inhabited it being transformed in response to an influx of global capital.

1. From James Joyce’s Ulysses, as quoted by the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Charles Haughey at the launch of the Custom Docks Redevelopment in Dublin, the future location of the International Financial and Services Centre (IFSC) in June 1987.

2. I worked in Canada and Ireland as a social worker. While in Canada, the focus was very much on issues of empowerment and self-advocacy, another defining personal influence. I was also involved as a volunteer activist working with First Nations youth and on educational projects related to the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and Frontline States in Southern Africa. Following my return to Ireland in 1995, I decided to take a career break which became a career change. I bought a camera and went on an extended trip to Southeast Asia. On my return, I continued to live in the city suburb of Stoneybatter, one of the oldest parts of Dublin.

3. This initial undertaking was short but would provide a technical and critical framework for the completion of a substantial part of the SOUTHERN CROSS project. The project was recipient of the first Development Bursary/Artist’s Award from the Gallery of Photography, Dublin in 2000 and presented as a solo exhibition there in 2002. The publication included support from the Construction Branch of the Irish Trade Union, SIPTU and included an essay by Justin Carville, titled ‘Arrested Development’, and a poem by the poet Philip Casey, titled ‘Implications of a Sketch’, a critique of the role of the architect. The intention for the publication was to create a discursive space for a criti- cal dialogue between the textual and visual. It was subsequently exhib- ited internationally including in Cologne, Germany (2003), Aleppo, Syria (2003), Brussels, Belgium (2004), Lyon, France (2004), Paris, France (2005) and Limerick, Ireland (2015).

4. SOUTHERN CROSS was followed by The Breathing Factory, the outcome of my doctoral research. The latter addressed the role and respresentation of labour and globalised space in Ireland’s newly indus- trialised landscape. AUSSCHNITTE AUS EDEN/EXTRACTS FROM EDEN (Arts Council of Ireland 2011), sited in a declining mining and industrial region of the former East Germany, evidenced the uneven- ness of globalisation. My current ongoing transnational project, THE MARKET (2010–), focuses on the functioning and condition of the global markets and the role of financial capital.

5. In 1987, the Customs House Docks scheme was launched on the North Quays in Dublin with a view to developing a shopping and residential complex around an international conference centre. This idea would ultimately fail but did lead to the development of what is now known as the International Financial and Services Centre (IFSC), the Republic of Ireland’s first financial district.

End of Extract

The title of the chapter is indebted to Colin Graham and his essay, ‘Motionless Monotony: New Nowheres in Irish Photography’, addressing projects which charted the impact of the Celtic Tiger, including SOUTHERN CROSS, and who observes in relation to the project:

‘evidence of the rasping, clawing deformation of the landscape, the visceral human individual in the midst of burgeoning idea of progress-as- building, propped up by finance-as-economics…it stands as an extraordinary warning of the future that was then yet to come (2012: 15).

Further information on SOUTHERN CROSS here.

Further information on publication here.

 

SPACE OF FLOWS: FRAMING AN UNSEEN REALITY (Documentation)

August 21, 2018 § Leave a comment

Data & Power (Panel, Krakow, May 2018)

‘Featuring an international slate of artists, the festival focuses on the ceaseless flow of people, information, and substances, through expanding urban areas, the virtual realm of cyberspace, and endangered natural landscapes. In the face of worldwide streams of refugees and migrants, an overload of manipulable digital information, and injurious amounts of harmful particles suspended in the atmosphere and discharged into waterways, those in power look the other way. And all the while they withdraw and intensify control to protect what they have. Short-term success is favoured over having a sustained vision of the future’ Iris Sikking, Curator Krakow Photomonth 2018

Extracts from THE MARKET (2010-) /RYNEK (2010-)(installation at the Szara Kamienica Gallery)

Installation comprised Photographs, Powerpoint Presentation, Transcripts of Verbal Testimony, A4 Colour Photograph/Text Pamphlet, Film & 3D Data Visualisation.Algorithm & Soundscape composition Ken Curran / Data Visualisation Damien Byrne.

The project was installed alongside excellent projects by Susan Schuppli, Axel BraunEline Benjaminsen.

As part of the official programme, a panel titled, Data & Power took place on Saturday, May 26th at Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art. Participants were Iris Sikking, Dominik Skokowski, Eline Benjaminsen, Mark Curran, Esther Hovers, Clément Lambelet, Rune Peitersen, Salvatore Vitale and was moderated by Alicja Peszkowska. To a full house the event went overtime due to audience responses and discussion. It was documented and available below.

‘A more perfect reminder of exactly how on-time and urgent these artists and their projects are, considering our connected world, even the very ground we walk upon. These stories remain resident in my consciousness and now alert me at odd moments to pay attention, to observe my own special omens’ From review by Christiane Monarchi on Photomonitor.co.uk available here.

Thank you to Iris Sikking for her generous invitation and to Aga Dwernicka, Joanna Gorlach, Karolina Leśniak, Marcin & Małgo and team in Krakow for all their hard work.

 

THE MARKET has been curated by Helen Carey (Director, Firestation Artists’ Studios) and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, NEPN (University of Sunderland, UK), Noorderlicht (Netherlands), Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Gallery of Photography (Dublin), Belfast Exposed & Culture Ireland.

Installation THE MARKET Le Bleu du Ciel, Lyon

October 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

IMG_9222Credit Suisse (Access denied)
Canary Wharf
London England
March 2013 (left)

Anthony, Analyst (negotiation 1.5 years)
The City
London, England
May 2013 (right)

‘In the evolutionary aftermath of the global economic collapse and absence of sustained audio-visual engagement with the central locus of this catastrophic event, the ongoing multi-media transnational project, THE MARKET (2010-), critically addresses the functioning and condition of the global markets and the role of financial capital. It is the continuation of a cycle of long-term projects, beginning in the late 1990s, focused on the predatory context resulting from migrations of global capital.

IMG_9230Bethlehem, Trader (negotiation 1.5 years)
Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX)
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
September 2012
IMG_9226The Viewing Gallery
Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX)
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
September, 2012
(Single channel HD digital video, silent, looped 9’’)
James, Operations Manager (negotiation 1 year)
Irish Stock Exchange (ISE)
Dublin, Ireland
April 2012
Transcripts (Dublin, London, Addis Abeba)

‘Having undertaken an extensive process of negotiation, averaging 1.5-2 years, to access strategic sites/individuals, the ethnographically-informed project incorporates photographs, film, soundscape, artifactual material, 3D data visualisation & transcripts of verbal testimony. Taking the sphere out of abstraction & positioning it as a pervasive force central to our lives, themes include algorithmic machinery of financial markets, central innovator of this technology, absorption of crises as normalisation of deviance & long range mapping & consequences of financial activity distanced from citizens & everyday life. Profiles include traders, bankers & financial analysts & documentation from London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam & Addis Abeba’

IMG_9327

Transcripts (Detail)(Dublin, London, Addis Abeba)

IMG_9253

Algorithmic Surrealism 2015
Landscaped Park (International Investment Bank)
Zuidas Global Financial District
Amsterdam, Netherlands

(Single channel HD digital video, colour, sound/voiceover 11’04’’)

The installation includes the film, Algorithmic Surrealism (follow link for excerpt) made in the new financial district of Zuidas (Amsterdam), global centre for algorithmic trading & shadow banking, while the voiceover of the film is adapted from a text by former trader, Brett Scott. Forecasted that there will be no human traders within a decade, the film suggests the hegemony of High Frequency Trading (HFT) and extinction of human reason – including empathy and ethics – will perpetuate the power relations of minority wealth in globalised capitalist systems.

IMG_9249

Financial Surrealism/Systemic Risk
Colour A4 image and text – Shadowbanking

IMG_9257

Artifacts & Correspondence regarding process to secure access to Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt/Eschborn 2012 including Letter requesting access to Deutsche Börse AG
from the Irish Ambassador to Germany, Berlin, Germany, November 2011
(accessd denied)
Framed emails/ Vitrine

IMG_9264

Artifacts & Correspondence regarding process to secure access to Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt/Eschborn 2012 (accessd denied)

IMG_9266

Artifacts & Correspondence regarding process to secure access to Deutsche Börse AG, Frankfurt/Eschborn 2012 (accessd denied)
(detail)

IMG_9269

Deutsche Börse II (Acess denied)
Eschborn (near Frankfurt)
Germany
March 2012

IMG_9284

The Television Studio
Selected Reports from German Television (2012 – 2013) from Frankfurt Börse (Stock Exchange)
(described in the vernacular by Deutsche Börse AG (owners) as ‘The Television Studio’)
Frankfurt, Germany

Digital Video, Silent, Looped (28 minutes)

IMG_9289

Taika, External Relations Associate (negotiation 1.5 years)
Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX)
Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
September 2012

IMG_9286

Matthew, Banker (negotiation 2 years)
Canary Wharf
London, England
March 2013
Poster/Text

IMG_9333

JP Morgan (formerly Lehman Brothers)(Access denied)
Canary Wharf
London, England
February 2013

‘Titled the Normalisation of Deviance, 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. For Le Bleu du Ciel, the algorithmic translation of the former minister, Pierre Moscovici is presented. To date, those of Michael Noonan (Ireland), George Osborne (UK) and Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Netherlands & Eurozone Group President) have also been included in exhibitions in those countries – to represent contemporary financial capital functioning through the conduit of the now financialised nation state”

IMG_9319

Financial District, Lyon
(Window, main gallery space)

The installation is part of the year-long programme, Suite-Nouveau Documentaire by Gilles Verneret, Director, Le Bleu du Ciel and part of official programme Resonance de la Biennale de Lyon 2017. Participation has been generously supported by Culture Ireland.

Exhibition from September 28 – November 25, 2017.

The project has been curated by Helen Carey (Director, Firestation Artists’ Studios) and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, NEPN (University of Sunderland, UK), Noorderlicht (Netherlands), Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Gallery of Photography, Belfast Exposed & Culture Ireland.

Algorithm & Sound Composition Ken Curran

Full information here.

The Economy of Appearances @ LCGA (Installation)

October 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

1_LCGA_Curran

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.
2_LCGA_Curran 5_LCGA_Curran 6_LCGA_Curran

6A_LCGA_Curran

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

7_LCGA_Curran

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)

9_LCGA_Curran

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
Limerick
Ireland
gallery.limerick.ie

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
Limerick
Ireland

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

Acknowledgments
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

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

MAPPING THE FRONTIERS OF HIGH FINANCE

April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 4.33.18 PM

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)

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