The Economy of Appearances @ LCGA (Installation)

October 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

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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

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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)

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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

NOORDERLICHT 2015 Installation

September 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

Central location of  #DataRush & #Pulse exhibitions of NOORDERLICHT 2015.  The Sugar Factory Groningen, the Netherlands

Central location of
#DataRush & #Pulse exhibitions of NOORDERLICHT 2015.
The Sugar Factory
Groningen, the Netherlands

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Dossier extracts from THE MARKET (2010 – )

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Systemic Risk (Shadow Banking)(detail) (A4 Inkjet prints, text on reverse outlines pivotal role of Netherlands, Luxembourg & Ireland in global shadow banking system) Zuidas Global Financial District Amsterdam, Netherlands 2015

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Right: Financial Surrrealism (WTC) Zuidas Financial District Amsterdam, Netherlands 2015 Left: Systemic Risk (Shadow Banking) Zuidas Global Financial District Amsterdam, Netherlands 2015

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Algorithmic Surrealism 2015 (Single channel HD digital video, colour, sound/voiceover, 11’) Zuidas Global Financial District Amsterdam, Netherlands script adapted from essay by former Trader & Financial Activist, Brett Scott

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The Economy of Appearances 2015 (Single channel HD digital generation, sound, 5’ 30’’) 3D Data Visualisation of the algorithmically-generated soundscape identifying the application of the words market and/or markets in the public speeches by Dutch Minister of Finance & President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem Algorithm Design & Sound Composition by Ken Curran Data Visualisation by Damien Byrne

‘Activating the popular graphic representation of such circumstance through a 3D visualisation of the algorithmically-generated soundscape—The Economy Of Appearances—to represent contemporary financial capital functioning through the conduit of the financialised nation state’ Helen Carey

#DataRush continues at The Sugar Factory, Groningen until 11 October

Thanks to Wim Melis, Ype Van Gorkum, Hester Keijser, Maria, Henne, Shahin and all the Noorderlicht team and to Amanda Ritson and NEPN, University of Sunderland for their generous support.

Full details of NOORDERLICHT 2015 available here.

Global Finance, Crisis & Photography

June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 4.47.10 PM THE 13th INFINITI CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL FINANCE 8-9 June 2015 Organised by Trinity College Dublin, Monash University & University of Ljubljana On the invitation of Brian Lucey, Professor of Finance (Trinity College Dublin), Mark Curran present on his practice-led research project, THE MARKET, at this annual conference on international finance being held at Faculty of Economics, the University of Ljubljana. Full details of programme are available here.

Supported by Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT).

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Separately, on Wednesday, June 10, a public event titled PHOTOGRAPHY & CRISIS, is being held at the University of Ljubljana. This is organised by Ilija Tomanic and Jan Babnik (REVIJA FOTOGRAFIJA) where along with a presentation from Reinhard Braun, Director & Editor of CAMERA AUSTRIA, Mark will also present on the project. Begins at 5pm, hope to maybe see some of you there. Full details here.

THE MARKET (Installation image) Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2014

THE MARKET (Installation image) Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2014

MAPPING THE FRONTIERS OF HIGH FINANCE

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

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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.).

SOUND VISION ACTION 2014 (Update)

December 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Shadows, the open illusion of the global economy and the curtain soon to fall.

Gathered in Montreal for ‪#‎SVA2014‬ in November through the energies of the team of Media@McGill, graduate students, Jonathan Sterne, Nicholas Mirzoeff and Tamar Tembeck. The resulting presentations and discussion have now been fully archived. Includes Natalie Bookchin, Caren Kaplan, Negar Mottahedeh, Amelia Jones, Daphne Brooks, Anette Hoffmann, Dont Rhine (Ultra-Red), Karin Bijsterveld, Nathalie Casemajor and Sumanth Gopinath (whom I shared a panel on the theme of Capitalism) amongst others.

This is the The Normalisation of Deviance and the construction of THE MARKET.

Q&A with fellow panellist Sumanth Gopinath (photograph courtesy of Mauricio Delfin)

Q&A with fellow panellist Sumanth Gopinath (photograph courtesy of Mauricio Delfin)

The complete archive of presentations and discussions is available here.

SOUND VISION ACTION 2014

November 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

SVA2014_McGill

SOUND VISION ACTION 2014 taking place at McCord Museum in cooperation with McGill University in Montreal on Friday and Saturday, November 14-15. The event is open to the public and free of charge.

This international colloquium has been convened by Prof. Jonathan Sterne (McGill), Prof. Nicholas Mirzoeff (New York University) and Dr. Tamar Tembeck (McGill) with the intention to:

puts contemporary art and scholarship in sound studies and visual culture in direct dialogue around questions of power and politics.

It is organised through Media@McGill, a hub of research, scholarship and public outreach on issues and controversies in media, technology and culture, housed within the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.

Panels:
Surveillance: Caren Kaplan, Karin Bijsterveld
Performance: Daphne Brooks, Amelia Jones
Militancy: Nathalie Casemajor, Ultra-red (Dont Rhine & Robert Sember)
Humanity: Negar Mottahedeh, Anette Hoffman
Capitalism: Mark Curran, Sumanth Gopinath
Mediation: Natalie Bookchin, Georgina Born

Mark Curran will present on the research project, THE MARKET, which focuses on the functioning and condition of the global markets. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, this was undertaken in collaboration with Helen Carey, Curator and Director of Firestation Artist’ Studios, the project was a central part of the visual art programme marking the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. It was installed at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Belfast Exposed, Limerick City Gallery of Art, CCA Derry-Londonderry and most recently at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris (2014). A publication is planned for 2015.

Full list and overview of speakers available here. The event will be live streamed and then archived. Full details can be found at:
http://www.soundvisionaction.cc

Installation THE MARKET Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris

February 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The image below from the installation is titled The Normalisation of Deviance II shows Spectrograms, a moving visual representation of the soundscape of the installation. The soundscape has been generated through the data collated by an algorithm to identify how often the French Minister of Finance, Pierre Moscovici used the word Market or Markets in his public speeches during the year, 2013.

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Online reviews of the installation

Le Monde

France Fine Art

Telerama

Slash Paris

Time Out Paris (English Version)

Paris Voice

Slate

The project has been generously supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and the installation in Paris by Culture Ireland.

The Theatre of Memory (Symposium), Abbey Theatre II

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

In mid-January, I was very pleased to be invited to contribute to the 3-day Theatre of Memory Symposium at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Titled, The Normalisation of Deviance: constructing THE MARKET, with introduction by Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey, my presentation on the historic stage was recorded:

The event was attended by a full-house and a review is available on the Abbey website here. The full playlist of the recorded presentations by a rich array of speakers is available here. The symposium was the first of three annual events that are planned.

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