Demystification Committee


NE3 Network Ensemble 2 Performance: Network Study XV

Performance: Network Study XIV — FLASH

In May 2018 the Network Ensemble was invited to perform at the Design Museum, as part of Alt-Age: Designing Belief, a festival exploring how contemporary conspiracies and belief systems are born, broadcast and believed.

The Network Ensemble sonically re-enacted the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010. On that day, against a volatile backdrop of a UK hung parliament and street protests in Athens, Greece — following the approval of European-backed austerity measures aimed at preventing the country’s default on loan payments — a Flash Crash wiped a trillion dollars from US stock markets.

As the crash happened, and for years after the events unfolded, commentators searched, desperately, for meaningful commentary. Half a decade later, a trader called Navinder Sarao was arrested in London, UK and extradited to be prosecuted in the US for causing the crash. Sarao was accused of inflating the financial markets in May 2010 to profit from an already volatile marketplace. He traded with hacked software from his home WiFi connection and PC: the accelerated pace at which the hacked software could place bets on the market mislead other algorithms which, reacting to his interference, triggered an uncontrollable domino reaction.

On May 6, 2018, the Network Ensemble returned to the original location of Sarao’s trading activity, and collected wireless network data during the same time-span of the original crash. Alongside US Stock Market trading data for the day, this information was translated into sound live at the Design Museum, accompanied by the live commentary from the trading pits and the field recordings from the riotous streets of Athens.

Network Ensemble XIV — FLASH is released on bandcamp as a digital download and double-sided A3 Risograph print, collecting the research behind the project.