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MASQUERADE

In 2006 Vermeir & Heiremans initiated A.I.R, a long-term project that focuses on the dynamics between art, architecture and economy. In the project the artists define their home, a loft apartment in a post-industrial building in Brussels, as an artwork.
A.I.R simultaneously articulates the home as source material for what the artists have named ‘mediated extensions’. Audiences cannot experience the ‘house as artwork’ physically but only through ‘mediated extensions’: translations of the ‘art house’ to different media such as installations and videos, but also performances, interviews, publications, a website…

by Vermeir & Heiremans

In their practice Vermeir & Heiremans define their own home, a loft apartment in Brussels, as an artwork. Whilst keeping their home private, they use it to create ‘mediated extensions’: translations to installations, videos, performances, publications… that generate a public hyper-visibility for their domestic space.

Art House Index (AHI–) is a new ‘extension’ that proposes the transformation of ‘the home as an artwork’ into a financial instrument. A financial index measures the performance of a specific part of the economy i.e. Dow Jones, S&P500… Measuring the value of the Art House and the artists’ brand, (AHI–) has the potential to render an opaque static product that is difficult to trade, like a house or art, into a tool of measurement that is very transparent for many investors.

In their new film MASQUERADE, a TV-reporter is telling the story of the protested ‘initial public offering’ (IPO) of (AHI–). While she is addressing the camera, what appears to be a reconstruction of the IPO, is taking place in the background. And then it all starts going wrong again! Is the audience witnessing an insider-sales in an auction house, a market crash in a trading pit or is it a hearing in a courtroom, one that tries to unveil the intricate dynamics of a confidence game?

Art, like finance, is a system of belief and their markets are where this belief is put to work. MASQUERADE is a film that focuses on the methodologies of the contemporary art market, using Melville’s novel The Confidence Man as the structure for its episodic narration. In presenting MASQUERADE Vermeir & Heiremans use the financial market as a producer of the narrative. The actual performance of (AHI–), showing the index going up or down, triggers-in ‘real financial time’ a switch between two MASQUERADE versions, one of which shows the ‘finished’ film while the other captures variations, rehearsals and failures.