Art Investment 2014-AA1 is an investment vehicle that responds to the increasing abstraction of the art market through financialization.
Art is now securitized and sold to investors who do not actually possess the work, but have a financial stake in its value. Indices such as the Skate’s Art Stock Index (SASI) allow investors to gain “exposure to the art market without having to buy art assets”. These indices focus on publicly traded companies within the art industry that can either be invested in, or shorted (bet against) if one expects the art market to decrease in value. This abstraction from the physical object, now commonplace in finance and emerging in art investment funds, serves to alienate the artist from the market. With an art index, any potential impact an artist or their work may have on the industry is reduced to one part of an aggregate, a data-point that is averaged alongside the expected quarterly profit of major auction houses.
We have responded to the SASI by creating Art Investment 2014-AA1, an art asset that visualizes and tracks the companies listed on the SASI by assembling data-feeds scraped from different sources and displaying the current and historical values in a candlestick graph. By using the visual, linguistic and technological forms of financialization, the ‘asset’ engages the financial class in their own vernacular, and familiarizes outsiders to the tools, language, and concepts of value specific to high finance. We aim to open up a dialogue — that so far has been relegated only to experts within finance — to all who may be impacted by these new financial instruments.