The bankruptcy auction that wasn’t

Paul Raven @ 02-07-2009

Here’s an interesting art installation that involves some science fictional thinking. Toys by Tomasso Lanza features digital renderings of assets to be sold at auction following the bankruptcy filing of a fictional Enron-like corporation. we make money not art explains:

The quick collapse of the company led to a fire-sale of most of ENT’s assets. In the months following the Chapter 11 filing, the liquidation team split the enormous sale across a number of auction dealers. Lanza created a photographic essay of some of the items surfaced by the bankruptcy auction, some of them perfectly mundane (executive chairs, workstations, gold balls and clubs, luxury cars, a range of sat nav, etc.), others fictitious. They are listed in the catalogue of an auction that dealt with low to mid-valued items and leftovers from previous auctions; despite the low-key of the sale, the dealers got their hands on a few items which were sold at much higher prices than originally expected thanks to their unique nature.

The fictitious items are straight out of a near-future/present day satire of corporate secrecy and hubris.

stock value viewfinder

This lot consists of an off-the-shelf viewfinder, plugged into some sort of digital tuning device with the words FTSE, DAX, HSI, DSM200, PHLX/KBW, MIBTEL, NIKKEI, NYSE, NASDAQ etched on. There is no documentation provided, although it is believed that these devices were secretly owned by a small number of executives and used for monitoring stocks and other financial products too sensitive to be displayed on-screen or retrieved on the company’s computers.

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