Mark Curran

“The Normalization of Deviance and the Construction of THE MARKET”

…what people don’t understand…is that what happens in the market is pivotal to their lives…not on the periphery…but slap, bang, in the middle…

(From telephone conversation with Trader (name withheld), Dealing Room, Investment Bank, London, February 2013)

Abstract: In the evolutionary aftermath of the global economic collapse and in the absence of sustained critical audiovisual engagement with the central locus of this catastrophic event, the project THE MARKET critically addresses the functioning and condition of the global stock and commodity markets. Continuing a cycle of long-term research projects on the predatory context resulting from migrations and flows of global capital, this paper will outline the theoretical and ethnographically-informed methodological framework of this multi-sited, transnational, audiovisual research undertaking, and the resulting formulation of its installation as critical representation. Having undertaken an extensive process of negotiation to access strategic sites and individuals, the project excavates, focusing upon operating function, materially and increasingly cyber-based individuals within these globalized spheres. Thus, the tension between human experience and the increasingly algorithmic systems that govern the markets provides an underlying sense of urgency. Incorporating photography, digital video, verbal testimony, sound and artifactual material, a reading is proffered that takes it out of abstraction, and positions it as a real and pervasive force that is absolutely central to our lives. While the paper will frame the central research thematic and methodology, in its summation and installation, THE MARKET instantiates the construction of an audiovisual ethnography of power and finance.

Bio: Mark Curran lives and works in Berlin and Dublin. He holds a practice-led PhD (2011), lectures on the BA (Hons) Photography programme, IADT, Dublin and is Visiting Professor on the MA in Visual and Media Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin. Incorporating multimedia installation informed by ethnographic understandings, Curran has undertaken a cycle of long-term projects over the past 16 years, critically addressing the predatory context resulting from migrations and flows of global capital. Curran has presented widely on his research practice, including at Photographers Gallery, London (2012) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2013). He has also published articles, including in the current edition of Photographies (Routledge) edited by Liz Wells and Deborah Bright. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and curated by Helen Carey, to mark the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout, a pivotal moment in Irish labour history, his ongoing project, THE MARKET, addresses the functioning and condition of the global markets. It was installed at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin; Belfast Exposed, Northern Ireland; and Limerick City Gallery of Art (2013); and at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2014). A publication will follow in 2015. Further information: and