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’

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

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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.

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

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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

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

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

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

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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)

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

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

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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”

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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 @ 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)

Installation: THE MARKET

September 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Gallery of Photography, Dublin 24 August – 1 october 2013

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

The image above of part of the installation titled The Normalisation of Deviance shows Spectrograms, a moving visual representation of the soundscape of the installation. The soundscape has been generated through the data generated through the use of an algorithm to identify how often the Irish Minister for Finance has used the word Market or Markets in his public speeches since taking office.

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

(installation photograph by Jamin Keogh)

Belfast Exposed 29 August – 11 October

1_BX_TM_Curran

2_BX_TM_Curran

The installation is similarly framed by the soundscape generated through the data generated by an algorithm identifying the application of the words Market or Markets by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer in his public speeches since taking office.

3_BX_TM_Curran

5_BX_TM_Curran

7_BX_TM_Curran

The installation image below shows the 6 feet high stack of A4 paper also titled The Normalisation of Deviance as part of the installation. This equates to the findings by a Chicago-based researcher of the number of global positions taken through the use of algorithms on one stock in one nanosecond. The total was 14,000 and equates to this amount of paper if this data was printed out. On the pages facing up is the quote:

…what people don’t understand… is that what happens in the market is pivotal to their lives… not on the periphery…but slap, bang, in the middle…
(From telephone conversation with trader, name withheld, Dealing Room, Investment Bank, London, February 2013

4_BX_TM_Curran

Further information available here and here.

THE MARKET @ Belfast Exposed

August 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Void Visitors Pass, Eschborn, Frankfurt, Germany, March 2012

Void Visitors Pass, Eschborn, Frankfurt, Germany, March 2012

THE MARKET

An installation by Mark Curran
Curated by Helen Carey
Opening: Thursday 29 August 7 – 9pm
Exhibition runs 30 August – 11 October 2013
…what people don’t understand… is that what happens in the market is pivotal to their lives… not on the periphery…but slap, bang, in the middle…
(From telephone conversation with trader, name withheld, Dealing Room, Investment Bank, London, February 2013)
THE MARKET by Mark Curran is a critical and unflinching interrogation of the current context of global stock and commodity markets in the aftermath of the global economic collapse.
In this on-going project, Curran seeks access to the physical spaces that represent centres of global stock and commodity markets; spaces where futures are literally and metaphorically speculated upon.  Multi-sited access has been sought in strategic locations and a series of photographs and interviews have been made in the Irish Stock Exchange in Dublin, the financial centres of Canary Wharf and the City in London and the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange in Addis Abeba (established in 2008 and the youngest exchange in the world). While access was unsuccessful in the Deutsche Borse in Frankfurt, it continues in relation to the Bombay Stock Exchange Mumbai (site of the oldest exchange in Asia) and the New York Stock Exchange.
Curran excavates these locations focusing on their operating functions, and the individuals who inhabit and labour in these spaces. It is the tension between the human individual experience and the increasingly cyber-based, algorithmic systems that govern the Market that provides an underlying sense of urgency to the project. Conceptually pivotal to THE MARKET is a desire to make visible an understanding of such sites, to explore their interconnectedness and to illuminate the lack of general knowledge about the systems that control and regulate the Market. Through this project, Curran enables a reading of the Market that takes it out of abstraction and positions it as a real and pervasive force that is absolutely central to our lives.
Acknowledging the technological evolution of the markets towards primarily non-human apparatus, generated from algorithms identifying the wordsMarket or Markets from speeches given by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, the soundscape of the installation represents the defining sound of the market, the sound of Capital through the conjuit apparatus of the Nation-State.
The artist has taken an ethnographic approach to the project, amassing a substantial body of research incorporating; photography, verbal testimony, digital video, artefactual material as well as the correspondence negotiating access to the sites. In the installation at Belfast Exposed, the relationship between the individual and the abstract algorithmic systems of the Market is heightened through a sound piece designed by Ken Curran that permeates the gallery space.
This exhibition is part of a larger series of visual art events marking the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout, a project curated by Helen Carey, Director Limerick City Gallery of Art. Partner organisations include Belfast Exposed Photography, Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Limerick City Gallery of Art and CCA Derry-Londonderry.
Exhibition Events
30 August 12.30pm | Mark Curran will be in conversation with Curator Helen Carey, opening up some of the key issues of this project. This is a free event, please register with ciara@belfastexposed.org to reserve a place.

Further information available here.

(Installation) Ausschnitte aus EDEN/Extracts from EDEN – PhotoIreland 2012‏

July 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Globalisation promises that all will be wonderful…but people know now it is an unfair process and they are affected by it…even their very existence…
(Marco, student, Cottbus, Lausitz, Eastern Germany, January 2007)

‘untitled’, section(map), Cottbus, Lausitz, Eastern Germany (glass slide, single projection)

in the programme of PHOTOIRELAND 2012
Dublin, Ireland
presents an installation of
Ausschnitte aus EDEN/Extracts from EDEN
a project by Mark Curran
as part of the Main Exhibition – On Migration 
Opening 18.00, Moxie Studios, Dublin, Friday, July 13th and continuing until July 26th
The Lausitz lies in the southeastern part of the Province of Brandenburg in the former East Germany(Deutsche Demokratische Republik) where it meets the Polish border. Of Sorb origin (a Slavic language group), the region has been shaped by the timeline of industrialisation, where along with its capital, Cottbus/Chosebuz was defined as a Model State and energy heartland of the DDR. The Tagebau, part of the largest opencast mining territory in Europe, now owned by a Swedish energy multinational, lies north, east and south of the city. While it continues to be extended, the braunkohle (lignite) will eventually be completely depleted.

Angelika, Tagebauarbeiterin, Tagebau Jaenschwalde, Lausitz, Eastern Germany, July 2008 (still, two-channel digital video, looped)

Having first visited the region in late 2003, seeking the impact of global capital in a periphery of Europe, as had been experienced in my native Ireland, I quickly realised that it was in fact the antithesis of this experience. Prior to the global economic collapse, but as evidenced by the above prophetic words of Marco, I encountered an emptying and the recognition that the same globalising forces which had transformed unrestrained the landscape of my origins, were indeed transforming this landscape through its forces of withdrawal and seepage – a globalised hemorrhaging. As a result, jobs were and continue to go further East while its younger population migrates to the West and in 2007, the Lausitz came last in a national survey addressing future prospects.

‘untitled’ (empty housing project in process of being dismantled), Neu Schmellwitz, Cottbus, Lausitz, Eastern Germany, August 2007 (glass slide, single projection

Informed by ethnographic understandings and incorporating audio digital video, photography, cross-generational testimony and artefactual material, the project has been constructed in the context of a landscape shaped by and inscribed with the utopic ideological aspirations of modernity – industrialisation, socialism and now at great cost, globalisation. In totality, the region invokes Marshall Berman’s ‘wounds of modernity’ resulting from the ‘cycles of destruction’ necessary for the functioning of capital. A pivotal emphasis for the project, is the catalyst for the region itself, the Tagebau and critically viewing it as perhaps a metaphor for late capitalism – finite, fragile and ultimately, unsustainable.

The production of the project has been generously supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Further information and location of exhibition available here.

Video documentation of the installation of the project as part of Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal in 2011 can be viewed here.

Ausschnitte aus EDEN/Extracts from EDEN (installation image, Braga, Portugal, 2011, photograph courtesy Jorge Inacio)

THE MARKET a project by Mark Curran

January 9, 2012 § 9 Comments

In the continuing evolutionary aftermath of the global economic collapse of 2008/2009 and absence of sustained practice-led research engagement with the central locus of this catastrophic event, the ethnographically informed, multi-sited, transnational project, THE MARKET (2010-), builds upon the cycle of long-term research projects, beginning in the late 1990s, by practice-led researcher and educator, Mark Curran, and focuses on the functioning and condition of the global markets and the central role of financial capital.

THE MARKET (installation image) Belfast Exposed 2013

THE MARKET (installation image) Belfast Exposed 2013

The cycle of multi-media research projects, addressing the predatory context resulting from migrations and flows of global capital began with SOUTHERN CROSS (1999-2001)(Gallery of Photography/Cornerhouse 2002) which surveyed the spaces of development and finance of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ Irish Republic. This was followed by  The Breathing Factory (2003-2006)(Edition Braus/Belfast Exposed/Gallery of Photography 2006) and subject of his practice-led PhD, sited in a multinational complex in Leixlip in the East of Ireland, the project addressed the role and representation of labour, global labour practices and fragile nature of globalised industrial space. Ausschnitte aus EDEN/Extracts from EDEN (2003-2009)(Arts Council of Ireland, 2011) focused upon a declining industrial and coalmining region in the former East Germany, an area which prophetically evidenced the massive impact regarding the unevenness of development inherent through the functioning of neoliberal globalisation. All projects are intended to demonstrate a continuing and sustained engagement addressing the predatory impact of global capital.

Critically, the ongoing project, THE MARKET, which began in 2010, seeks to access those sites, which all of the other project work to date has also been decisively defined, spaces where literally and metaphorically, futures are speculated upon – the global markets – and to explore, survey and excavate focusing upon their operating functioning and how this is reflected in for example, language, architectural understandings and centrally, the individuals who inhabit, dwell and labour within these global financial spheres. Conceptually pivotal and mindful of technological evolution with specific reference to the role and functioning of algorithms, has been a desire to both make visible an understanding of such sites and to explore the interconnectedness of such markets. Therefore, multi-sited access has been sought to survey various global locations, including sites in Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Addis Ababa and Mumbai. Extended stays and re-visits have been undertaken in each location to facilitate further research regarding the site, address access, establish contacts and develop relationships with individuals as key collaborators and informants of the project.

As demonstrated in Curran’s previous projects, the cross-disciplinary interventions have included an ethnographic understanding in the collaborative and multi-vocal application of media in the form of photography, audio-digital video, soundscape and the collation of verbal testimony. The intention for THE MARKET has been to afford process-led undertakings over the course of its construction, extending to site-specific interventions, web presence and forums around the project installations incorporating interested parties thereby facilitating the opening up of discursive spaces around the central thematic.

The anthropologist, Karen 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.)’ Ho, K. (2009) Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street New York: New York University.

In the financial markets, there is a natural predatory instinct that is hard to control (former trader and author, Micheal Lewis, BBC World Service, 9 May 2010)

The video shows a taped up plastic curtain inside the factory, one that seems to be installed for blocking the artist from viewing production equipment and process. Although we cannot see, there seems to be a working (breathing) machine inside the curtain as it, almost unnoticeably, inflates and deflates repetitiously. In fact, the video seems to summate what the audience experiences in the exhibition. The camera made its way inside the factory, but it cannot tell us what the employees actually do or what they produce. We are only allowed to hear the breathe of the factory. This is analogous to today’s globalised economy and financial markets. For many of us, it is almost unfathomable to understand how they operate. We are left outside of a curtain, inside of which a giant machine breathes intermittently. (from Spectators of the Same Story: Economy, Technology, Photography, Jung Joon Lee, Review of The Breathing Factory: A Project by Mark Curran, DePaul Art Museum (DPAM), Chicago January-March 2010, CAMERAta, Seoul, Korea, May 2010)

Keywords Global Capital, Ethnography, Photography, Speculation, Transnational, Vulnerable, Fieldwork, Precarity, Testimony, Cross-disciplinary, Labour, Witness, Reflexive, Installation, Montage, Multivocality, Access, Technology, Algorithms, Visual Art, Futures

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