Narrating the Race to Zero

Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 7pm

Narrating the Race to Zero

Kodwo Eshun

HEAD – GenèveBoulevard Helvétique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor

Flash crash de la Livre sterling: les algorithmes mis en cause, 6 octobre 2016. Graphique: Bloomberg.
Flash Crash of the Pound with algorithms being blamed, October 6, 2016. Graph: Bloomberg.

The economic power of global finance now rivals the sovereignty of nation states. At the same time, automated global finance increasingly trades beneath the threshold of human perception How do cultural practices and artistic vocabularies narrate the interscalar implications of financial sovereignty? And how can these planetary scales and inhuman speeds be visualised and mapped? These questions can be focused on the emergent phenomena of the flash crash. Since 2010, proprietary algorithms, acting outside the control of human traders, have regularly threatened and resurrected financial markets by trading billions of dollars at near light speed. The lecture examines the differing modes of forensic and fictional narrations occasioned by these ultrafast extreme events and speculates upon what forms narrative practice might take in a present increasingly dominated by predatory computational ecologies.