Goldin+Senneby have collaborated since 2004 on projects that explore performativity in relation to juridical, financial and spatial constructs, and their operation in the digital realm. Through actions, platforms and theoretical pursuits, they consider the interrelation of virtual economies with theatricality and storytelling.
M&A follows a series of works in which the artists reference August Nordenskiöld, a late-eighteenth-century Swedish mineralogist and anti-slavery activist who attempted to produce enough gold by alchemical means to make it worthless and thereby undermine the financial system. In many of these works, the artists link speculative forms of theatre to the world of global finance, where trades are increasingly automated. For M&A, an actor is often present in the space, rehearsing a play commissioned by the artists. A closed plinth also houses what purports to be a trading strategy predicting mergers and acquisitions. Utilizing an algorithm based on this strategy and designed by a computer scientist, the artists will invest the budget for the production, the performance of which will pay the actor’s wage and thus determine the frequency and duration of his presence. Daily rehearsals continue as long the money lasts; the work itself is a real-time representation of market performance.
M&A underscores the questionable ethics involved in the world of virtual trading. At the same time, it implicates the art world within a global system where speculation is increasingly severed from production, locality, community and labour.