Speculation and Counter-Speculation
From value to price, from labor to debt, from revolution to disruption

Joshua SimonCurator and writer

Extract from the text published by Joshua Simon in Public Seminar (October, 2017).  Read the whole text in Public Seminar

[...] Another example of an artist working with speculation against its own logic is Cristina Garrido, who developed an installation titled #JWIITMTESDSA? (Just what is it that makes today´s exhibitions so different, so appealing?) made for the Generación Prize shortlist, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2015). The installation is based on collecting and categorizing the flow of JPGs, Instagram feeds, art blogs, artist webpages and other image blast platforms of contemporary art. By paraphrasing Richard Hamilton’s seminal 1956 pop collage “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” and turning it into a Twitter hashtag, Garrido expands onto the speculative nature of contemporary exhibition and art making. From Pop Art’s depiction of the absorption of production surpluses, to the deployment of speculative patterns of economic strategizing, Garrido’s seemingly nonchalant arrangement of stuff is framed by her ongoing research into current trends in contemporary art. A list of certain things seems to be needed in order for today’s exhibitions to be so different, so appealing: birds, bottles, unframed canvases hanging on the wall, cardboard boxes, circles and spheres, creased things on the floor, fans, grids, monoliths, references to the ancient world of Rome and Greece, plants, rocks, rugs, bulky square-shaped TV monitors, stands with hanging elements, objects leaning against the wall and on the floor, wooden structures, and vertical flags. Garrido found all of these items to be essential elements in exhibitions of contemporary art. As she explores these compositional and material choices, Garrido situates the notion of the contemporary within the logic of speculation1. With this, Garrido lets speculation play out its own deadlock aesthetics. Her depiction of speculation is one of stasis. She outlines its limits, by a counter-speculation that questions the status quo’s imaginative force. [...]

1. Randy Martin writes on samples and breaks in music and horizontal habits in dance in relation to the derivative form, suggesting these are forms that respond to the blocking of forward or upward social mobility. “The break, from this perspective, could be considered a space of arbitrage, a place where a manufactured difference between two sources becomes a generative realization of some value.” Randy Martin, Knowledge LTD: Towards a Social Logic of the Derivative, Temple University Press, 2015, p. 189. Moreover, volatile populations have developed a “kinaesthetic” which elaborates sideways moves “moshing, mashing and mixing.” p. 210.