AMERICAN CURRENCY (2019)
An algorithmic video piece that was installed at the Main Station in Zurich, Switzerland. "American Currency" takes its name from the 30th horse to die at the Santa Anita Race Track since December 2018. It is inspired by the novel They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy and the film adaptation directed by Sydney Pollack.
During the installation period in September 2019, American Currency would operate autonomously throughout the day. One cycle through the video content takes about 10-20 minutes (see an example below), but each instance is uniquely sequenced with algorithmically-generated variations in content selection, visual effects, timing, repetition, and playback speed.
In the evening time, the "cube" became a performance space where -- in response to the original story -- dance marathon contestants would compete for follows, likes, and posts on social media while remaining constantly in motion on colorful treadmills. The event was hosted by Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men with choreography by Jeremy Nedd, and performances by Florian Denk, Jeremy Nedd, Anna Hofmann, Alireza Bayram, Sascha Soydan, Jakob Stark, and Leon Pfannenmuller. Costume design by Daniela Zorrozua. Set design by Laura Knusel. The video engineer was Robert Meyer. Music and Sound Design by Janiv Oron.
A single algorithmic cycle of "American Currency."
While researching "American Currency," I spent a lot of time watching the film adaptation of They Shoot Horses, Don't They? directed by Sydney Pollack in 1969 as well as reading Horace McCoy's original novel from 1935. The video below is a collage of clips appropriated from Pollack's film combined with research inspired by the novel and a contemporary view of the story.