An annex to the Geofinancial Lexicon
Exhibition: – 29 Aug 2021
CNA Centre national de l'audiovisuel
1b, rue du Centenaire
An annex to the Geofinancial Lexicon
Exhibition: 22 May – 29 August, 2021
Eline Benjaminsen, the CNA's artist in residency from 2019 to 2020, is fascinated by the abilities and failures of photographic storytelling as a tool to interact with and challenge what she views as nonsensical results produced by the logic of today's global market. But mostly her work revolves around a deep concern that the lack of visuality within such market processes may limit our ability to engage with them. That’s why the potential that imagery possesses in enabling us to observe such processes clearer is very interesting to her. These investigations more often than not results in ‘impossible documents’ - images that are perhaps mainly successful in their failure to document anything at all. So Eline engages in this challenge of perceiving through photographic follow-the-money narratives that combine prints, video and text in mixed media installations.
Financial jargon has often been said to be deliberately obscure; by forging complexity it distracts public interest. Scrolling through the Financial Times dictionary of financial terms, Sami Hammana discovered that much of the vocabulary used by financial workers on the daily allude to the natural world. "If there is such a convergence" between nature and the market, he asks, "then capitalist violence and environmental degradation are not only inseparable, but hold similar, if not identical, logics in generating strategies of emancipation" (Hammana, The Geofinancial Lexicon, 2018).
Wildly inspired by terms such as 'animal spirits', 'dead cat bounce', 'iceberg order', 'tripple witching' and 'vampire squid', Benjaminsen set out to image these visceral oddities for her latest work "Collapsed Mythologies. An annex to the Geofinancial Lexicon". Created during the artist’s residency at the Centre national de l’audiovisuel in Luxembourg, the project aims at making visual pleas for relating to these financial fictions, disentangling them from their obscurity while studying their etymologies and mythologies. As the home of the largest international investment fund industry, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has recently established itself as a center of innovation within green markets and sustainable investing - an ideal framework for this research.
Between what these terms mean (as in financial actions usually abstracted from ecological derivatives) and the natural world that they signify, lie rich mythological histories.
"With a curiosity around how value is measured in the world today, monetarily and otherwise, I explore what I view as a great contradiction: how deeply influential market processes often escape our physical realm. I do this through photographic follow-the-money narratives that combine photographic prints, video and text in mixed media installations.
Concerned by how the lacking visuality of socio-economic processes may affect our ability to engage with them, I am interested in how the creation of imagery might enable us to observe them clearer. My work is therefore occupied with the potentiality of storytelling as a tool for ‘debunking by exposing' what I view as quite non-sensical results that the logic of globalized capitalism produces today. The problem is that these results often lack visual queues. By focusing on what is strictly physical – that which can be photographed, I aim to confront the viewers with the limits of their own vision. This often results in the creation of ‘impossible documents’ - images that are perhaps mainly successful in their failure to document anything at all. What they depict is a material absence of unperceivable infrastructure.
Long-term collaborative work is central in my practice. Working together with a diversity of experts such as researchers, journalists and designers helps in the creation of a strong foundation for my visual story-telling."
More information: www.elinebenjaminsen.com