Summer Interns Having Lunch (1987)

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Summer Interns Having Lunch, Wall Street, New York, 1987 (photograph by Joel Sternfeld)

Described as a pioneer of colour photography, Joel Sternfeld, lives and works in New York. This image by Sternfeld from 1987 focuses upon the youthful summer intern, a role defined as a crucial and critical rite of passage for those who desire a future on the street. Significant is also the timing of the photograph as it precedes the stock market crash of Black Monday that Autumn, viewed by many as a result of the increasing prevalence of neoliberal financial capitalism and the rising application of computer trading, particularly in the United States.

Wall Street (1915)

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Two years following the Dublin Lockout, the American photographer, Paul Strand, whom had studied with Lewis Hine amongst others, made this picture on Wall Street in front of the newly built, JP Morgan Co. Building. With the original title, Pedestrians raked by morning light in a canyon of commerce, the continuing resonance of the image and its ability to visualise the supposed abstractness of capital is insightfully addressed here.

Liquidated

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Published in 2009, Liquidated: An ethnography of Wall Street, was the result of a three-year ethnographic study addressing the culture of high finance by Professor of Anthropology, Karen Ho of the University of Minnesota:

Based on this culture of liquidity and compensation practices tied to profligate deal-making, Wall Street investment bankers reshape corporate America in their own image. Their mission is the creation of shareholder value, but Ho demonstrates that their practices and assumptions often produce crises instead. By connecting the values and actions of investment bankers to the construction of markets and the restructuring of U.S. corporations, Liquidated reveals the particular culture of Wall Street often obscured by triumphalist readings of capitalist globalization.

Significant as a publication due to the innovative ethnographic grounding of its subject matter, in this short video, Ho outlines operating structures, the significance regarding ‘pedigree’, citizen complicity and the critical role of fear in this ‘culture of liquidity’:

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