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«The Wealth of Nations»
2010, Bill Balaskas

06’17’’
HDV transferred to DVD, ed. 5

The work takes its title from Adam Smith’s famous 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which established capitalism as the dominant market ideology in Western thought. The video employs the iconic images of London’s two financial centers, the City and Canary Wharf, in order to investigate the relation between a privileged point of view (space) and the ability to “control” time, a function evoked through the device of an extremely slow zoom out. The incapacity of financial leaders to predict and prepare for the crisis (“control” the future-time) and the deliberately ironic title of the piece that implies a false co-ownership of the privileged scenery, both suggest that control over the conflicting powers of capitalism remains an open question. The work was inspired by both my background (my first university degree is in Economics) and my first solo exhibition in Sketch Gallery (London, 29/01-13/03/2010), entitled In Between Bubbles, which had as its subject the current global financial crisis. In contradistinction, however, with the highly literal approach of the credit crunch in the installation of In Between Bubbles, The Wealth of Nations adopts a more indirect and, perhaps, symbolic approach through the privileging a specific, ideologically “charged” iconography.

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