Demystification Committee

Network Study XIV – Flash

MAY 6, 2010
Against a backdrop of street protests and violent clashes in Athens, Greece, result of the approval of European-backed austerity measures and socio-economical policies aimed at preventing the country’s default on loan payments, a Flash Crash (2.32—2.57PM) wipes a trillion dollars from US stock markets.

Network Study XIV – Flash reads the event of the May 6, 2010 crash as a crucial accident on financial markets and a moment of rupture in a politically intense time for Europe.

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 positive feedback loop.

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 market crash. In Network Study XIV — Flash, alongside US Stock Market trading data for the day, this information was translated into sound, accompanied by the live commentary from the trading pits and the field recordings from the riotous streets of Athens.

Network Study XIV – Flash is available on bandcamp as a digital download and double-sided A3 Risograph print, collecting the research behind the project. A PDF version can be downloaded here.

The performance was commissioned by, performed and recorded live at the Design Museum in May 2018, as part of Alt-Age: Designing Belief, a festival exploring how contemporary conspiracies and belief systems are born, broadcast and believed.