THREE WHITE SOLDIERS

Performance by

JOHAN FORSMAN & ANDERS PAULIN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Three White Soldiers is a performative archive, operating in an oscillating field between High Frequency Trading and Shamanic practices. Following the protocol of pilgrimage, the work is exploring financial, aesthetic and spiritual aspects of time/spaces not accessible to human perception.

The performance is developed over 3 years in continuous transformation, shifting shape as we engage with the material, people and stories that our research brings in our way. Neither critique nor capitulation towards the networking super speed of contemporary economy; rather an attempt to travel along its patterns and linguistic figures.

March-April 2014 we made a research-trip to USA, first as a residence at Chiara Giovando´s studio A Thousand Points of Lights in Joshua Tree desert, California, followed by a pilgrimage walk from the New York Stock Exchange at Wall Street to the computer co-location of NYSE in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Join us for a virtual journey through the labyrinths of algorithmic transactions.

–> 20 + 21 + 27 + 29/11. 4 + 5 + 6/12
–> OPEN PRICING POLICY IS APPLIED; PAY WHAT YOU THINK REASONABLE FROM YOUR SITUATION.
–> TICKETS

 

SQUARE ONE – THE KABA

In Mahwah, New Jersey, lies a cubistic building with no windows and just one door. This is the 37.000 m2 digital heart of Wall Street; a so-called colocation with surreal computer-power processing all the information of the North American stockmarket. Since a couple of years, this is where the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) not only keeps all their own servers, but also are hosting the servers of banks and other companies with the interest of being as close as possible to the source of the information – to those who can afford it, that is.

Whether your arena is stock-market or the horse-races, upfront access to information has been the key to success. In the era of High Frequency Trading, where stocks are bought and sold in speeds producing a time-space not accessible to man, the 5 microseconds it takes for the information to travel from Mahwah to the actual Wall Street is all it takes to differ the winner from the loser.

The technical investments needed to participate in this microsecond-race obviously are astronomic. Today 2% of the total number of investors have the financial muscles to play this game, that nonetheless represents 80% of all transactions on Wall Street. And of this minority, only a few have the resources required to get a room at the monolithic collocation hotel at 1700 MacArthur Blvd, Mahwah. The machinery is operating in speeds beyond human perception, making this cube of financial immanence a vehicle with no throttle or steering wheel – just a red button to turn the engines off in case of emergency. (However, what situation would constitute an emergency remains to be defined, since a coherent analyzis of the system is beyond the capacity of humans as well.)
In this up-scaled, 3-dimensional version of Malevich Black Square, algorithmic programs owned by a mere fistful of major players of the US market make 25 % of the daily transactions on Wall Street. This other-space of sorts is an arena where man-made machines, left alone from any human intervention, make decisions defining the material foundation of our reality – pensions, investments, mortgage etc – based on analyzises made by other machines.

This Kaba of the Financial World, is our Graal; the virtual aim of the project Three White Soldiers – a pilgrimage into the void of contemporary High Frequency Trading.

SQUARE TWO – THE REAL BODY

Here´s how it works:
The first horizontal line is decided by the opening price; the other horizontal line by the closing price.
These lines are connected by two vertical lines; and together they constitute a square. This square is called the real body.

If the closing price is higher than the opening, the real body is left hollow. In the opposite case, when you have a closing price below level of the opening, the real body is filled in with a color – most often black or red.

If the opening price and the closing price is identical, which is very rare, you don´t have any body at all – it will just be a line. We don´t know if this line has a name.

During the given time frame, there will almost always be some variations of the price that goes both above and below the area covered by the real body. This is drawn as vertical, singular lines, left in the end without any horizontal line. This is called the shadow. So, in most cases the real body comes with two shadows.

These are the basic figures of the language by which our material reality is being communicated.

SQUARE THREE – THE DESERT

In Joshua Tree we met with the shaman Charlyn. She said:

1
We´re one multiverse
the economy is everywhere
We´re not the only life form
There is so many relationships

So, think galactically, act locally
Be kind to the body
And hydrate
and don´t hydrate in plastic

In your quest of economics
The earth is the first economy
Connect with people
Keep doing what you´re doing

2
It is about taking care of being connected
with the divine, with the mother, with your body
Taking care being connected with humans

We need to see the other
and believe what the other is saying
and feel them.

all the rest
is the loss of empathy
and critical thinking becomes oppositional disorder

What does make us feel normal
truly at ease, at home?
What creates home?

Talk to people in transition.
Do the human thing
Drink enough water
Feed yourself
Take care of the vehicle.
Make sure your life is sustainable.
Walk without shoes when you can
Martyrdom in the new paradigm is out.
Stay human.

3
Think in patterns
track the sky
use aspects
to see how it unfolds
try that.
Start checking out astrology.
Go to the sky

And sound healing
There is a 528 hz chime
that is pretty wonderful
That might be something
It resonates with the note F in the heart
It is fabolous
We could share that with you
We make one for your project

You obviously need to hear it.
It is already in order.

SQUARE FOUR – THE COWBOY

In 1988, after the introduction of Perestrojka but before the fall of the Sovjet Union, the president of United States of America, Ronald Reagan, gives a speech at the Moscow State University. One decade before the internet becomes accessible to the average citizen, the former Hollywood Cowboy addresses the need for a universal embracing of what he calls the ”new economy”.

Standing here before a mural of the Soviet revolution, I want to talk about a very different revolution that is taking place right now, quietly sweeping the globe without bloodshed or conflict. Its effects are peaceful, but they will fundamentally alter our world, shatter old assumptions, and reshape our lives. It’s easy to underestimate because it’s not accompanied by banners or fanfare. It’s been called the technological or information revolution, and as its emblem, one might take the tiny silicon chip.
Information technology is transforming our lives – replacing manual labor with robots, forecasting weather for farmers, or mapping the genetic code of DNA for medical researchers. These microcomputers today aid the design of everything from houses to cars to spacecraft; they even design better and faster computers. Linked by a network of satellites and fiber-optic cables, one individual with a computer and a telephone commands resources unavailable to the largest governments just a few years ago.
Like a chrysalis, we’re emerging from the economy of the Industrial Revolution – an economy confined to and limited by the Earth’s physical resources – into “The Economy in Mind”, in which there are no bounds on human imagination and the freedom to create is the most precious natural resource. In the new economy, human invention increasingly makes physical resources obsolete. We’re breaking through the material conditions of existence to a world where man creates his own destiny.
Today the world looks expectantly to signs of change. There are some, I know, who fear that change will bring only disruption and discontinuity, who fear to embrace the hope of the future – sometimes it takes faith. It’s like that scene in the cowboy movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

The posse is closing in on the two outlaws, Butch and Sundance. They find themselves trapped on the edge of a cliff, with a sheer drop of hundreds of feet to the raging rapids below.

Butch turns to Sundance and says their only hope is to jump into the river below Johan
But Sundance refuses. He says he’d rather fight it out with the posse, even though they’re hopelessly outnumbered.

Butch says ”That’s suicide” and urges him to jump,

Sundance still refuses and finally admits, “I can’t swim.”

Butch breaks up laughing and says, “You crazy fool, the fall will probably kill you.”

And, by the way, both Butch and Sundance made it, in case you didn’t see the movie

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