A series of sculptures based the strange equivalence of architecture of financial districts across the world.
The series examines the idea that today’s tallest towers are more than simply buildings: they represent a belief system that is ubiquitous throughout the world today. These are tribal objects for the Information Age.
These perforated metal sculptures, based on buildings that were once the tallest of their time. The series is based on a flippant idea formulated by economist Andrew Lawrence: “An era’s tallest building rises on the eve of economic downturn”.
For example (click on the images to read the captions):
There’s something primal, almost tribal about towers. The tallest ones have come to represent the financial industry, another weirdly cultish sect, with its arcane scholarship of tax codes and use of obscure devices like algorithms or financial derivatives.
Or as Will Self more bombastically puts it, “A skyscraper is always a big swaying dick vaunting the ambitions of late capitalism to reduce the human individual to the status and the proportions of a submissive worker ant“
But with the Skyscraper Index the mask slips. Decisions are suddenly not as rational and hard-headed as you imagine. Buildings, which are the result of many sophisticated systems (planning, financing, designing, building), are simultaneously a manifestation of risky speculation, this over-exuberant faith in a bubble economy.
The punched metal alludes to electronic hardware or building systems – both familiar and strange, everyday and incomprehensible. CNC machined objects are part of a world of robotics that dystopian sci-fi writers imagine one day taking over the world.
Click here for a video of a CNC punching machine. Isn’t it cool?
But the sculptures also refer to a cultural heritage of esotericism and mystic religion: tribal masks, occult symbols and cosmic diagrams. Like examining a computer and being able to read its notches and incisions like some cryptic hieroglyphic mantra.
The series forms a pantheon that recognises our contemporary idols: framing beliefs in economic progress almost as if they are tribalist rituals; underlining irrational, vestigal and atavistic elements still persistent today.
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Watch a video interview about the making of a tower for the front cover of British Airways’ First magazine: