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Freeport Observatory / Film Screening

June 13, 2015


On the occasion of my temporal (auto-)residency in a container of the Freeports and Warehouses of Geneva, the new film project of artists’s duo Vermeir & Heiremans, titled MASQUERADE will be shown on Saturday 13th of June, 16h.

You are kindly invited to visit the place, watch the movie and participate in a debate.

Be discrete while walking in. There are different ways to find the container, follow the red lines on the picture. 0041 765 74 34 40, in case of doubt, but try to discover!

In their collaborative practice Vermeir & Heiremans focus on the dynamics between art, architecture and economy. In this practice the artists define their own home, a loft apartment in a post-industrial building in Brussels, as an artwork. Whilst keeping their home private, they use it to create “mediated extensions”, translations to installations, videos, performances, publications... that generate a public hyper-visibility for their domestic space.

ART HOUSE INDEX (AHI) is a new “extension” that proposes the transformation of “the home as an artwork” into a financial instrument. The potential value of this index would be its ability to render an opaque static product that is difficult to trade, like a house or art, into a transparent tool of measurement that is very accessible for many investors.

In their new film MASQUERADE, a TV-reporter is telling the story of the protested “initial public offering” (IPO) of (AHI). While she is addressing the camera, what appears to be a reconstruction of the IPO is taking place in the background. And then it all starts going wrong again! Is the audience witnessing an insider-sales in an auction house, a crash in the market or is it a hearing in a courtroom, one that tries to unveil the intricate dynamics of a confidence game?

Art, like finance, is a system of belief and their markets are where this belief is put to work. The ephemeral worlds of “high finance” and the “global art markets” thus offer a unique context for the narrative of MASQUERADE. It is set in a fragmented environment that gradually evolves from a gallery white cube to an auction house, commodity exchange, trading pit, even a courtroom... all places where values are negotiated and exchanged.

About the Residency
Before the Free World is a research project by Ciel Grommen on freeports and more in particular on the freeports and warehouses of Geneva.

A free port is a bonded zone under customs control to store goods in transit. The 'free' aspect of freeports refers to the suspension of customs duties and taxes until the moment the goods reach their final destination. Recently the freeports of Geneva have made media headlines since it is increasingly used as a permanent home for investment goods such as artworks.
While residing in a container in the Swiss zone of the site with a view on the fiscal no-man's land under customs control, Grommen invites people during the month of June to visit and discuss the contested place and its relation with the world of contemporary art today. The space of assembly is furnished by 'art crates' that function as furniture for a pop-up art event. An animated emergency map invites visitors to carefully examine the alleged normality behind which critical economic processes take place. The very presence and focus on the physical functioning of the space recalls the centrality of place in the current discussions on globalism and postnationalism.

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