computer, monitor/projector, internet connection
The term 'market forces' describes one of the central concepts of free
market capitalism. The belief that the forces of supply and demand alone
(i.e. without government intervention and regulation) will result in
the best use of resources has become a fundamental dogma. Like the Buddhist
idea of 'karma' or 'the Hand of God' in Christianity, market forces
are regarded as a naturally occurring phenomenon - these forces are
not created by any institution, they just exist. Such natural forces
can be influenced (by prayer and righteousness in the case of religion
or by PR and advertising in the case of economics) but it is not possible
to evade their power.
The monitor shows the entrance to the building that houses the social
security office for central Berlin. People are all either walking into
or out of the building. The number of people varies as does the speed
at which they walk. The upper stories of the building expand as the
people go in and contract as they go out as if the architecture is breathing.
This cycle repeats endlessly with the speed and volume of people changing
What is seen on screen is determined by live updated stock market data
derived from the internet (DAX, NIKKEI, Dow Jones, etc.). If the share
prices are rising, with each 'breath', more and more people go in and
out. Conversely, when shares are falling fewer and fewer people enter
and leave the building. A flat market causes people to walk slowly.
If the prices rise or fall more rapidly the action speeds up.
The piece responds to remote events and is thus merely reactive. It
could, however, be argued that this opens a deeper level of meaning
than the often banal interface between viewer and interactive art work.
Stock market statistics are condensed from thousands of individual (trans)actions
which, in turn, result from thousands of other factors - trade figures,
consumer confidence, political decisions down to individual consumer
behaviour. The consequences of these simple numbers are equally multi-faceted
- profit, loss, expansion, consolidation, rationalisation, take-over,
Market Forces is a playful, non-literal visual representation of global
market forces at work, stimulating thought through the transposition
into mundane daily life.