Some people just want to see the market crash.

Feb 22-March 20, 2013 Science Friction, Copenhagen


The Flash Crash.

Curatoria Text by Maria Gry Bregnbak:

“When you think about it, it’s funny how the highly complex mechanisms of the market are always represented by the simplest possible image: A horizon; a simple line separating the earth from the sky.”

For her first solo show in Copenhagen, Geraldine Juárez is taking on the stock market. The well-known zigzag lines representing the movements on stock market indexes such as the NASDAQ, Dow Jones or the CAC40 are at the core of Geraldine Juarez’ work for the current exhibition.

“When the stock market crashed in 2008, we were all talking about it even though no one really understood what they were talking about. In that way, the market is very esoteric.”

The esoteric quality of the financial market renders it somewhat cultish with its weight on the world, its interpreters like high priests and its temples on Wall Street. Geraldine Juárez’ works for the current exhibition play into the cult-like nature of the stock market by mirroring the fundamental value behind financial transactions and its symbols, i.e. gold. The gilded 3D prints of various stocks and equity prices become pieces of pop culture jewellery as does the elegant gold and mirror representation of the 2010 flash crash – the fastest stock market crash to date, where the market crashed in seconds only to recover its losses minutes later.

By choosing an adaptation of the phrase “Some men just want to watch the world burn” from Batman – The Dark Knight for the title of her show, Juarez is not only playing on the ideological struggle between communism and capitalism portrayed in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy but also on the perversion behind the market crashes. The quote’s underlying assumption is that some people take pleasure in destruction – simply for the excitement of being able to inflict it. Some people play the market like a high-stakes poker game where corruption, inside trading and crashes are just part of the game. What happens when these practices are hard coded into computers using algorithms capable of high frequency trade at the speed of light?

However, despite these observations it would be a radical simplification of Juarez’ work to describe it merely as a capitalist critique. Juarez work goes beyond straightforward critique in the sense that it also incorporates and utilizes capitalist strategies and markets against themselves – often in an attempt to discover abundances and speak against the scarcity rhetoric promoted by economic liberalism.