50 Broad St.
Admittedly, I got excited when I got to 50 Broad St. I had not imagined that I would be rewarded in my search. But here it was, the letters ISLAND engraved into the dark ochre stone. Visually recognisable. Significant. I felt a slight vertigo from realising that most passersby would never recognise this entrance as anything worth their attention. I had been filming for a few days in the tight little network of streets that make out the financial district of Manhattan. Quite aimlessly really. Just taking in the surroundings, through the camera lens. Taking cover among the clusters of tourists, I rested the camera eye on the stone buildings spilling their tedious authoritative aura out into the streets. There was something hyper-cinematic about the architecture and the tightly knit layout of the streets. Hyper-cinematic in the sense that every visual input seemed to dart out into multilayered fictional cinematic representations, all of them restlessly referring to the next, cross-referencing until the whole area seemed like a fluid distant memory. But everything I saw seemed bulkily unframed; not accurately color corrected; missing the grain and trailing frames that make the architecture feel vivid and alive. The whole thing eerily void of mystique, of drama, of soul. The soul we have injected into the bland corpus of Americana Capitalism is a fiction indeed. The way we picture how money moves is in a montage sequence of suits jacket being pressed, running ticker symbols superimposed on treadmills, money counting machines that goes whirr, high fives and phones held in place by shoulders - all climaxing in a twin tower sunset silhouette. Inside the HD Camcorder all the sky-scrapers still look stale. If anything, they’re even more lifeless in the filterless conversion to digital points. Without the crane, the focus puller and the levelled dolly tracks, the buildings are left crudely animated in handheld jolts and uncoordinated pans. Aimlessly shooting weird reflections in windows, formless public sculptures, a slippery-when-wet sign. I spent an excessive amount of time filming some geometrically-off cubic brass barriers. Solid blocks shielding the sidewalks from entering cars. Useless material - I was sure of that even as it entered through the lens, with no direction, no system, no objective. Meandering most often leads nowhere. The meanderer must allow for a lot of time being unproductive. Honestly, I felt the production-weight on my shoulders the whole time. Why aren’t you making something useful out of your time?

No Traders
The sort of cut-throat intensity that the financial district of Manhattan has in our collective imagination and may have embodied quite authentically in the past, is all gone by now. The place feels like a museum. Like a historical village with amateur actors performing as villagers in the reenactment of financial district of yore. A fiction of a fiction. Humans work here, of course. In maintenance; in marketing; in public relations; in sales. But the intensity of the market moves all on its own. It does not need the slick-back combed suit, shooting one-liners across the room. It trades only with its own kind. With the unfathomable fast, the emotionless, the uninvested, the predatory.

I had a sandwich and sat staring at the statue of George Washington outside Federal Hall, just across from the NYSE. This is where the killer wolf in 'Wolfen' (1981), towered above an empty Wall Street, howling from the roof of an armoured cash transport car. Ushering the fierce vendetta on the people of finance, by the wolf spirit – a vengeance for the eviction of families, the foreclosing and demolishing of entire neighbourhoods. Better eat ‘em all, Wolfen, before they themselves devour everything, including any trace of spirit. The original 1981 movie-poster of 'Wolfen' carries the tagline: They can hear a cloud pass overhead, the rhythm of your blood. They can track you by yesterday’s shadow. They can tear the scream from your throat. WOLFEN. There is no escape. Swap out the righteously vengeful wolf spirits of then, with the predator algorithms of now (WOLFEN > ALGOS) and you have quite a contemporaneous horror movie poster, for the financial times we live in. Revisiting 'Wolfen' I realised that it was pioneering the use of in-camera-effects to portray the instinctive point of view of a wolf. A kind of thermodynamic filtering of what the wolf perceives, later copied in 'Predator' (1987). Like in 'Predator' the wolfs of 'Wolfen' perceives humans as the other, as a terrifying opponent and as a threat to its functioning reality; it looks at us and sees the monster. Through the filter - the change in the fabric of the film - the order of looking and being looked upon, changes. The rocking POV of the American Iguana, pushing its particle-being through the trash heaps, surely reverberates. That gaze, technically dependent on a set of other parameters, i.e. thermostatically filtering, is a gaze from awry, a looking from the side. An-other seeing, that ask of the viewer to see herself, see herself watching. The othering of the filtered film sequence, has a rupture to it, that makes us aware that what we see has been altered. In the realisation of this we become complicit with the material we are consuming. We read as we watch; we accept the altering of the technical fabric as the altering of a subjective view.

Shard Cinema
In the age of seamless augmented CGI effects, the cut between what is ‘real’ and what is a disruption of this ‘real’ is indiscernible. With the augmentation of reality, the disruption of an experienced ‘real’ is more of a dissolve, the fabric of reality never cut into. The experience, no matter how surreal and fantastical its visuality may be, never becomes an awakening visceral break with reality, but rather an optical entrancement inflating the experience of reality. A slumber induced by the floating CGI specks of dust, sparks and shards of glass. In 'Shard Cinema' (2017) Ewan Calder Williams proposes that the purpose of all the ornamentally dilating CGI effects of newer action cinema, displayed in a trance-like slowing down of the action, might be ’to display a sheer chaos of visual information too complex to process at any one moment yet with ample, slow-motion time to fail at doing so’ (2017) In 'Shard Cinema', Williams sets out to frame the rise of augmentation of especially action cinema, in the use of complex particulate CGI shards and specks, floating mesmerisingly through the extreme slow-motion depictions of sheer destruction, as a capitalist tool. Instead of having a rupturing impact on the audience of the film and their perceived reality hereof, the effect is used to induce a ‘dreamy pseudo-sublime’ intoxication. An experience of having watched something that transcended reality, but really was just an indicator of the very real workings of the consumer product. Every speck and particle, an indicator of the money that went into the production, bringing an audience under the authoritative spell of its high production value. Williams write: ‘Just as the kind of disaggregating spatial forms in shard cinema provide a fleeting glimpse of the processes used to make them, the way that such spaces are negotiated and navigated both by characters and by the camera itself allow us to see flickers and echoes of those working behind the scene, the hands of the compositor moving amongst an image so dense and manifestly costly that it will ultimately slam that view shut.’ (2017) The ‘too-muchness of the images’ and really how time is used to make explicit the production value of the proposed reality, the super slo-mo of a bulb of blood passing through our gaze in all its CGI perfection, makes the augmented moment of shard cinema a ‘blindingly dense encounter with time and money’. (Williams, 2017) We are not invited to look from the side, to experience ourselves experiencing and hence reflect critically on the reality of the situation we are in. Rather we are barred from evaluating this augmented reality; slumbered into the expansive, dilating, reality of absolute capitalism.

'Cable ITCH (I don’t wanna work at Island no more)' teems with Computer Generated Image sequences. Quite deliberately, non of them come remotely close to the expanse of particle distribution of a Hollywood blockbuster – they were in fact devised as openly non-indulgent in their treatment of the 3D environment. But they still cater to the virtual realm; the cleanliness of the modelled environment. As fully coded representations of physical space, or as composite virtuality added to a filmed scene, the environments explored in 'Cable ITCH' has an insubstantial quality to them. In contrast to these dreamt up computer-generated settings, the small gold necklace, looped around the handrail in the staircase of Kunsthall 3,14, carries with it a tremendous weight. Together with the cables and monitors of the installation, it presents a gravity, an actual pull, a materiality that has mass. This physical pull of an object was something that I found crucial to add to this body of works, since I felt it needed something to contrast how anything in CGI seems to turn out eerily weightless, no matter the cost value. There is an outspoken physicality to the gold necklace slung around the handrail. A physicality distributed between the lightness of its design and the heavy connotations of its material and materiality. I decided to produce the pendant in 14 karat gold (the highest karat before the gold turns too soft to enable the engravings to come out well defined), to make it somehow speak to the genuineness we assign to the object of physical value. In contrast to the virtuality of finance economy and the algorithmic spectres, the necklace is worth at least its physical weight in gold. That it just hangs there, easily grabbed, sneaked into the pocket, carelessly displayed really, only speaks up its tangible worth.

Phenomenological Mind-Fucking
In all its presence the necklace does also seem to speak directly to the opposite. There is an absence to the wearable object, that is not worn. Like the pieces of clothing digitally draped over the backs of office chairs in the CGI sequences, the necklace also alludes to the absence of that body it is supposed to ornament; there is no neck decorated by the slim gold chain, no chest graced by the small square entranceway. The necklace now exists as evidence, as trace, as leftover. If the necklace is here, where did they dump the body? What is the necklace witness to? The object that persists to speak of the horror of absence has a certain time quality to it. As a temporal piece it narrates a temporality that exists before it got lost, the moment of loosing it and the future of this lost object, all in one. Just like a tune in a melody it inhabits the present, its retention and its protention, all at once. The necklace left on the handrail, is quasi-evental, it speaks to a nowish or hereish, in the form of constantly representing the nowness of the act of wearing, of seeing, of finding, of stealing; yet a nowness that has yet to occur, has already occurred or is occurring in this said moment. ‘Time is not a line but a network of intentionalities’ says Merleau-Ponty. A now that sinks ‘down into pastness of retention is not a disappearance into oblivion’. (Birnbaum, 2004) Skipping giddily across the surface of phenomenological mind-fucking, let’s leave the labyrinth of temporal phenomenology and stay with the hovering temporality of the suspended necklace as evidence of time passing; as a horror object speaking of suspended time, prolonged nowness. Even as still object, I consider the necklace incredibly time-based. Not only because of its ephemeral quality in the nature of its hanging, or even that it might sway as you walk past it thus aping animation, but really in how it may conjure an idea about time, or time in-absentia.