Sylvia Eckermann & Gerald Nestler. Sound by Peter Szely

The Trend Is Your Friend

In The Trend Is Your Friend!, visitors are invited to participate in an artistic exploration. By slipping their heads through the architecture, participants immerse in an interactive virtual world where 3D-video scenarios (270° projection) constitute an asset market. Here, the visitors become traders who bet on the appearance and performance of audiovisual worlds that reflect ideas and notions of agency, value, utopia and conflict. With their heads serving as joysticks, they engage in a multidimensional exchange of aesthetic, social and/or economic values, negotiating beyond the imperative of maximising profits. To implement a real-world-scenario, robot traders act as market makers to ensure activity and prevent market manipulation. Human and robot bid and offer flow directly into software based on Vernon L. Smith’s Double Auction Market model (1962). They result in prices that instantly trigger visual and acoustic modifications in the asset-scenarios. At the same time, individual profits or losses are updated. The volatile performativity on this artistic trading floor with its potential trend formations is a result of collective but not necessarily shared behaviours and desires. If the majority of players get too hyped up in one direction, they might even produce a bubble and experience a collapse of market prices. Whenever a visitor pulls out, the successor inherits his/her capital. Inflation affects its value as long as the place is vacant. Under such “laboratory conditions,” TIYF! challenges notions of individuality and community and raises questions that go beyond an artistic array of (symbolic) values.

Sylvia Eckermann has been working in the field of electronic arts since 1989. She creates complex multimedia worlds that the viewers experience in real as well as virtual space. She develops her artworks from concepts of spatiality to communicate immersive experiences that involve situations in which the viewers turn into actors-players inside an audio-visual environment. Interactive installations and media related artworks realized around the world. Serious Games for museums and schools. Sylvia Eckermann has pioneered in the field of artistic use of game engines in various game art installations.

Gerald Nestler works within a field of artistic research that encompasses different aspects of what he calls “Econociety” — a more and more global economy that is shaping our world today, particularly in respect to the changing roles of the individual person, the society and community. He is currently examining these notions under the paradigm of “derivatisation” as part of a practise-based Ph.D. at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths College, London. Nestler graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1992. His interest in finance and economy goes back to the mid 1990’s, when he began an artistic field research as a broker and trader. Since then he has been exhibiting internationally, often in a collaborative practice.

Peter Szely works in the fields of (sound) installation, sound architecture, intermedia art, radio art, concerts, compositions, sound environments for theatre, performances, as well as media and acoustic interventions in public spaces around the world. He studied Computer Music and Electronic Media at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Since September 2003 he has been hosting in collaboration with Georg Weckwerth “Tonspur – für einen öffentlichen Raum”, an ongoing series of sound works by prestigious international and Austrian participants at q21, Museumsquartier Vienna.