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Søren Thilo Funder

Cable ITCH (I don´t wanna work at Island no more)

25.06.- 22.08.2021

Cable ITCH (I don’t wanna work at Island no more) is a five channel video installation unfolding in the foyer of Kunsthall 3,14. Distributed up the staircase a series of video works comprise a narrative revolving around another staircase, namely the one leading up to the offices of the high frequency trading company Island ECN, on 50 Broad St. in the Financial District of New York City.

 

Island ECN, founded by computer programmer and free information idealist Joshua Levine, held offices on the 10th floor of 50 Broad St. through the nineties. Island housed the ultimate avant-garde of high frequency trading, king of the plumbers, those that understood to bank on the very plumbing facilitating the transaction of the stock rather than the stock itself. And it was here that high frequency trading was conceived, leaving its distinct mark on the future of economics. A form of trading outmanoeuvring human faculty, the speed of every micro transaction weaving ever-new threads in an opaque unstable neuro-network of hyper-connected currents.

 

Cable ITCH (I don’t wanna work at Island no more) forms a meditation on the unfathomable literal mess that this office space was left in. The absurd otherness of these trash-ridden offices, contrasts how the financial market (and with it algorithmic transactions) is considered norm in contemporary society, shaping not only a prevalent ideology of binary logic, but really also a sort of absolutism, from where all societal and personal imaginations ultimately must emerge. The market, as incontestable constituent of our realm of imagination, is somehow challenged in this eerie meeting with the physical mess it sprang from. From Island’s offices on the 10th floor a thick fiber optic cable snaked down the marble staircase to the sixth floor where Island kept it’s servers. This cable forms a focal narrative point for Cable ITCH (I don’t wanna work at Island no more), it’s transportation of information down through the building, a conduit for investigating the space between physicality and immateriality in the realm of finance trade.

 

In the staircase of Kunsthall 3,14 five flatscreen monitors are distributed up the flights of stairs. On one screen we are presented with the waste cluttered office spaces of Island ECN seen from the perspective of a CGI pet Iguana roaming through the empty soda cans, styrofoam cups and pizza boxes. On two other screens we are introduced to a thick cable snaking its way down a staircase, modelled in 3D after the actual staircase of Kunsthall 3,14 (the building housing Kunsthall 3,14 former function as bank accounts for its staircase sharing many visual similarities with the staircase of 50 Broad St in New York City). This cable alters between different states. Sometimes it liquidises into a black oily pool, at others it turns into a centipede-like creature, telescoping its rippled body. At moments water floods the staircase and the cable transforms into a deep sea internet cable, habitat for seashells and a ghostlike pyrosome. Sometimes the cable just tangles up and coexists with kindred cables, relishing in the cable mess. Throughout these sequences an anti-work meditation, from the hellish work environment of Island ECN, reads out. On a fourth screen we’re on the roof top of a highrise, where a businessman wearing a motorbike helmet picks up his nerve to jump onto a towering slide, promising a suicidal ride to the ground below. The slide forms a physical manifestation of Joshua Levine’s blog post of February 11th, 2018:

 

I’ve been dreaming of jumping off the top of the Grace Building since I was a little kid.

It always seemed like the curve would catch me like the hand of god.

I’d love to build a giant stainless steel parabolic curve.

Really giant, like hundreds of feet tall.

The curve would be vertical at the top, gently becoming horizontal by the bottom.

It would “catch” you by directing your downward motion into forward motion.

At the top you would be in free-fall, at the bottom you’d be on the fastest county fair slide ever.

 

Present throughout the foyer of Kunsthall 3,14 is the sound of a whistling tune. On a final screen, a stockbroker is pressing through the vinter crowd of the financial district in NYC, outpacing the other pedestrians. He is wearing his grey suit and no overcoat. No woollen cap, no thick scarf. His upbeat pace is accompanied by this repetitive tune that he whistles in white gusts of exhaled breath condensate. ‘In the Hall of The Mountain King’, repeated again and again in a persuasive tune crackled by the piercing cold. On his shoulder an M is written in chalk. Recalling the fictional character Hans Beckert from Fritz Lang’s Film Noir M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder, this obsessive tune pushes, with the deterministic stockbroker, through the urban landscape of financial speculation. He turns down Broad St. and now he’s on Pearl, now Beaver, now Pine. As the track jump cuts and replaces the stockbroker on different paths, forever tracing the triangle of the financial district through the cutting cold, and as the final edited file loops, the travel becomes eternal - all trajectory no destination.

 

On a handrail in the staircase at Kunsthall 3,14, a small gold pendant is hanging from a gold chain, swung around the handrail, as if someone had found it on the stairs. The small jewellery is cast in the shape of the original entrance doorway to Island ECN in Broad St. The pendant sticks out in the space as something rather physical and directly valuable - countering the imaginary value of finance economy and the virtuality of the many CGI environments of the installation.

Cable ITCH (I don't wanna work at Island no more) constitutes the midways presentation for Søren Thilo Funder's Artistic Research PhD at The Art Academy – Department of Contemporary Art, UIB.

Cable ITCH (I don't wanna work at Island no more) received support from Knud Højgaards Fond og Statens Kunstfond, DK.

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