Grey Room

In Light of the Arc

Zachary Formwalt


This photo–essay reworks material from an eponymous film installation on the Shenzhen stock exchange, drawing upon its voice–over. ‘In Light of the Arc’ confronts a major paradox of the visibility of the contemporary stock exchange: computer trading has made the traditional trading pit redundant. How can one (allegorically) represent the market place now that the actual trading is executed in a space beyond the threshold of human perception? While trading may often take place in a space and time that we cannot experience, someone must still construct these inaccessible places. This is an architecture of anonymous surfaces, where if light is present, it, too, falls beyond the threshold of human perception. This is the light that prices become—an infrared signal traveling through cables from one black box to another. The architecture of the stock exchange is located in the gap between two boxes, the one we are permitted to see and the one we are not. The world we inhabit and the prices that project it.