Demystification Committee

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A performance held at transmediale festival 2018 in Berlin, DE as a means to explore tactics of corporate secrecy observed in tax havens.

The performance plays with the indeterminacy which characterises companies registered in tax havens, existing solely as paper records containing often contrasting information in an effort to cover a company’s interest. Separately kept across a number of archives, such records are only accessible by specific people in specific locations: whether the shareholders, legal advisors or tax authorities, no single person or group of people has the practical, legal or financial means to see a company in its entirety.

During the performance, the directors of two companies, part of an Offshore Investigation Vehicle set-up by the Demystification Committee, undertake the necessary steps to distribute money hid behind one such company operating in a tax haven to the investors of the other company, operating onshore. Mirroring a known corporate tax evasion tactic, this money amounts to the tax savings on the revenue from sales made through the same Offshore Investigation Vehicle as part of a wider tax evasion scheme.

As the events on stage unfold, a narrator describes the meeting: taken at face value, two independent companies are legitimately agreeing on a loan. However, an alternative simultaneous description of events, displayed to those present in the room, contradicts the course of action by offering insights on the relationships between the two companies, operating within the same vehicle.

As often offshore, both versions of events are true as their accuracy is only assessable from the limited perspective any one group of people is afforded.

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