Island of Research
I spent a long time on that island. Its relatively simple layout welcomed me. The kind of territory that needs no map. Walking in one direction always ultimately leading me towards the distinct border of a shoreline. Following the shoreline, leaving me back at my starting point, always. Nooks and crannies, of course, unexplored, allowing for new discoveries and more probing, but always inside the circular confines of the well known land mass. A closed circuit. Things and occurrences on the island speaking to an outside world, of course, but always from this self-contained environment. Sufficient in its perfect isolation. ‘An island is a bit of earth that has broken faith with the terrestrial world’ (2010), writes D. Graham Burnett. This separation made for a convenient habitat. Entanglements abound, but never in a degree distorting orientation or making me doubt the nature of my inquiries or the purpose of my habitation. The research around Joshua Levine and the trading firm Islands, formed such an island, with the specificity of its place in history and the way in which its strings of narrative tied up appropriately. The cable snaking down the stairs, makes for a fitting analogy; starting point and end point; input to output; cause and effect. The Island narrative stays within the closed circuit of the specificities related to its time period, the place and its personalities. But as Burnett adds in his expatiation of the island and its role in literature: ‘This quite naturally gives rise to concern about the reliability and good will of these landforms, which have so clearly turned their back on geographical solidarity'. (2010) At times the good will of the Island exploration did indeed feel unreliable. Its perfect isolation, a perfect excuse for not pursuing its complex relations to other stretches of land out there. But from this island of research, I found myself, more than often, turning towards the shoreline. Towards the seemingly uncrossable moat that the ocean formed around my habitat. That’s the thing about an island. If you turn your back to it, you’re inevitably met by an ocean.

Linked Pools
After the success of ‘Island’ - its growing foothold in the trading system and leverage over the ways the market would structure itself - it was inevitable that the ideas of a digital market, fore-fronted by Levine, would be carried forward into the proliferation of the internet. A new trading firm founded on December 27, 1996 by Jerry Putnam and Stuart Townsend, was ready to bring high frequency digital trading to the next level. This firm was fittingly named ‘Archipelago’. It is very hard not to stay in the analogical topology that the names of these firms conjure up. Putnam’s vision for this next phase of high frequency trading was a cableless connection, between all the different islands of trading rooms, linking through the internet to the same machine. Together the former isolated islands would now form an archipelago. ‘The system would be a conduit, tapping into the volume generated by the entire market. Putnam’s pool wouldn’t be an isolated “island” of liquidity, it would be a chain of islands connected electronically—an archipelago of linked pools. Other pools, including Island’s, only matched orders internally before routing out to Nasdaq.’ (Patterson, 2013) With Archipelago, trading through computers manifested its rule on the trading business. And when NYSE and Archipelago finally struck a deal it was not only a watershed in U.S. financial history, but the mark of a world wide change in the constitution of finance trading. Furthermore, ‘it signalled that the storied floor of the Big Board, a symbol of capitalism known around the world, was no longer dominant.’ (Patterson, 2013) While there might still have been faith in the floor, it was evident that it had become a prop; a backdrop for financial news networks advertising the NYSE brand. Nothing could stop the rule of the computer. And the hand signals of the traders, exchanging across the cacophonous pandemonium of the trading floor, became a strange display of theatrics keeping the myth, of the vigilant trader with expert knowledge, alive.

Archipelago (No One is an Island)
In Oceanic Horror the emergence of ‘Archipelago’ becomes another narrative strain in the transrealist exploration of the realm of finance trading and its immanent horrors. The research project deliberately parts with the concrete narrative of ‘Archipelago’ as soon as it enters the stage. Instead it adopts the company name and from here kicks the can down the road. Archipelago now exists as a fictional trading firm that embodies, not only the strange financial reality that ‘Island’ and ‘Archipelago’ were so indicative of and seminal in creating, but also the wide-ranging socio-political, socio-economical and psychological effects of the proliferating internet and wireless connectivity. In this realm, unfolding in virtual spaces and directed by algorithms, human activity is mainly left to perform the rituals that gives the bodiless stream a body; performing the myths of human ingenuity and dominance; repeating the hierarchical patterns that represent human social activity.

Installation as Archipelago
The installation at Kunsthall 3,14 was designed to form an archipelago. Separated small islands of furniture or screens, together forming a cluster of islands. In this same way, the dramatic structure of the central two channel video work in  the exhibition also shapes an archipelago in itself. Every character inhabiting the depicted environment form an island within herself, literally plugged in to a closed circuit; AirPods in ear; screen glued to face. These isolated islands form a cluster of islands that together form a detached yet hyperconnected fractal landmass strewn in an inhospitable ocean. The blocking of both camera and actors in the production of this filmic material, was intentionally designed to emphasise this image of isolation in the connected. The choice to let this nonlinear narrative unfold on two screens, was made to allow for the montage to focus attention on this partitioning/connecting relationship. The two channel montage allows for  actors to recognise each other’s ghostlike presence, from each their screen. It allows for a lingering in the solitary while opening up connecting worlds in the adjacent screen reality. It allows for a situation to be represented from multiple angles, thus forcing an objective gaze outside human sensory faculty upon a situation. And physically it somehow allows for the screens to become self-contained entities that at moments suddenly emerged into one unified screen; two islands rhythmically oscillating between correspondence and polarity, melting into one screen portal. On a technical level - one that might go unnoticed by the general viewer, but may speak to our unconscious recognition of the cinematic - the two screens shifts screen-reality from two separated 4:3 projections to one integrated 2.35:1 Cinemascope format.