Arsenal New York: Ed Fornieles – The Finiliar
From February 22 to March 26, 2017
Opening reception: Wednesday 22 February, 6-9pm
- Digital entity feeding off data sets produced by companies, currencies, and other large institutions, using a cute facial interface to elicit a sense of emotional attachment within the viewer.
Arsenal Contemporary New York is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition with Ed Fornieles, featuring telematic LED works, inkjet prints, sculptures, and an animated digital video. Fornieles creates stages for performative cultures stemming from the ebb and flow of information through various systems of value. Paying particular attention to ludic qualities of subject formation and the polymorphic attachments that develop in these sites, his work navigates the porous threshold between the virtual and IRL.
Culminating from a recent residency at Arsenal Montreal, The Finiliar seeks to map the oft-invisible circulation of global capital. Rebranding major currencies as characters employed by a Tamagotchi-inspired enterprise, Fornieles creates an auxiliary market defined by and operating according to the pre-existing terms and conditions of the worldwide economy. Adapting the popular collectibles of Japanese kawaii culture, The Finiliar reimages currencies as soft, globular figures whose range of emotions —from celebratory champagne guzzling to tear-jerking—come to evocatively symbolize the perpetual flux in global monetary values. Three looming LED screens synced to real-time short- and long-term value projections for the Canadian dollar, British pound, and Ethereum implicate the viewer in an empathetic relation to capital, baiting us to ‘take care’ of these emotive figures. Here, the usual flattening of data that transforms the abstract into the representational, enabling its legibility, arrives in the literal personification of money, inciting a nurturing transhuman relationship with the otherwise invisible or discrete. In this way, the Finiliar gives form to late-capitalism’s lasting fantasy—its latent promise to (any day now) substantiate money as a channel towards well-being and care rather than mere yearning—so that Fornieles returns tacit expectations into content.
Like all brands, The Finiliar functions as a source for production rather than a commodity in and of itself, meaning that its regeneration through self-actualization is inevitable. Fornieles advances these expectations by way of a series of sculptures and prints, posed as merchandise that enforces the brand. Ingrained in its own theatre, the Finiliar’s techno-animism stems from its reliance on interpreted data and its ongoing unfolding. Tulip Fever, a single channel video, considers the possible relations between Finiliars. Dramas play out in an imagined corollary to the real-world trajectory each character follows. These simulations offer additional truths that press on the real-time mappings of Finiliars, disclosing lurking realities as well as fantasies-in-the-making as economies brush up and share. The Finiliar is, after all, both a relentless cataloguing of capital in time as well as a further addition to the tide of new things that global culture relentlessly produces.
Ed Fornieles is a British artist currently in residency at Arsenal Montreal. He holds an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art. Solo exhibitions have been held at New Museum, New York; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Serpentine Gallery, London; Arratia Beer, Berlin; and Carl Kostyal, Stockholm. His work has been presented in group exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Boetzelaer Nispen, Amsterdam; Arsenal, Montreal; and Carlos/Ishikawa, London. In 2017, Fornieles will debut a billboard campaign in New York City under the auspices of the exhibition Commercial Break with Public Art Fund.