FEAR AND GREED
"IT IS WELL ENOUGH THAT PEOPLE OF THE NATION DO NOT UNDERSTAND OUR BANKING AND MONETARY SYSTEM, FOR IF THEY DID, I BELIEVE THERE WOULD BE A REVOLUTION BEFORE TOMORROW MORNING."
ATTRIBUTED TO HENRY FORD, ORIGINALLY BY CHARLES BINDERUP, 1937
FROM TRANSFER OF POWER
GORDON CHEUNG SOLO EXHIBITION
07.23.2021 – 08.14.2021
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Fear and Greed by Gordon Cheung is a limited edition print portfolio that accompanies Transfer of Power, Cheung’s 2021 solo exhibition debut in Los Angeles. This collection of archival fine art inkjet prints comprises six single tulip images appropriated from Dutch Golden Age still life paintings and four contemporary portraits of blockchain industry leaders, transformed in Cheung’s iconic glitch technique. Each print is animated via the Fear and Greed augmented reality app, available to download in from the App Store and GooglePlay. Fear and Greed also has various integrated AI and blockchain technologies sponsored by the Swiss technology company SmartStamp.
The title of Fear and Greed is in reference to a stock market index term that quantifies what it believes to be the two main emotions that drive the market. The portfolio explores histories that span over 380 years with the first recorded market bubble and crash called “Tulipomania” that marked the birth of global modern capitalism to today’s mass adoption of blockchain technology epitomised by Bitcoin as a pillar of the Fourth industrial Revolution.
Bitcoin was conceptualized after the 2008 financial crisis when the US government printed trillions of dollars in an attempt to resuscitate the economy. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the global recession into what could be a depression, spurring centralised bankers to print money into the trillions, creating a fear of hyperinflation, diluting purchasing power, and leading to an exodus of dollars into other assets — such as Bitcoin. Blockchain, a decentralised ledger system, is what underpins the existence of cryptocurrency, making it near impossible to counterfeit, thus ensuring a highly reliable system of authenticity. In 2021, the traditional financial institutions are ‘panic buying’ into Bitcoin, signalling a monetary revolution as they respond to a potential collapse of the dollar and its status as the world reserve currency.
Cheung uses a digital sorting algorithm to non-destructively reorganise photographic pixels to metaphorically suggest rhyming histories that he visually calls ‘digital sands of time.’ In an increasingly digital age that reconfigures our perceptions of reality into a state of constant flux, Cheung is compelled to bear witness to historic and revolutionary moments of humanity. Interwoven within these historical timelines and technological processes are the human conditions of what it means to exist within these cycles of histories to meditate on the past, present, and futures about who we are and what we can become.
“Having known Gordon for many years in my role as a museum curator, I have followed his career closely ever since we met for a 2006 exhibition. It is a great pleasure to work together again on such a special art technology collaboration for work that timely draws from the rapidly changing financial and technology markets. Melding elements of classical beauty from the canon of art history together with the fragmented, multiplex culture of idealism and dystopia that is both cause and reaction of our Fourth Industrial Revolution, Gordon -- with this portfolio -- continues to seduce us with his palpable vision of the transforming world and proves he’s a master of taking the pulse of our collective culture.” -- Juli Cho Bailer, CEO and Co-Founder of SmartStamp
The Swiss tech company, SmartStamp, is the proud technology sponsor of the Fear and Greed print portfolio. SmartStamp uses computer vision and AI, secured with eco-friendly blockchain timestamping, to create revolutionary, immutable, digital fingerprints of objects of art in order to verify their authenticity.
About Gordon Cheung
Born 1975 in London to Chinese parents, contemporary multi-media artist Gordon Cheung has developed an innovative approach to making art, which blurs virtual and actual reality to reflect on the existential questions of what it means to be human in civilisations with histories written by victors. Cheung raises questions and critique’s the effects of global capitalism, its underlying mechanisms of power on our perception of identity, territory and sense of belonging. These narratives are refracted through the prisms of culture, mythology, religion, and politics into dreamlike spaces of urban surreal worlds that are rooted in his in-between identity.
Cheung graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1998 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and earned his Masters of Fine Arts in 2001 from the Royal College of Art in London. Select solo shows include Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall UK, The Light that Burns Twice as Bright, Alan Cristea Gallery, London UK, Here Be Dragons, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham, UK and New Order Vanitas, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, West Palm Beach, FL, USA. His works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Whitworth Art Museum in Manchester, Royal College of Art in London, and the British Museum, amongst others. He lives and works in London.
SmartStamp uses computer vision and AI, secured with eco-friendly blockchain timestamping technology, to create immutable, digital fingerprints of objects of art in order to verify their authenticity—simply with a smartphone in any light environment.
SmartStamp is a Swiss company with blockchain and patented identification and traceability technologies, developed over 10 years with the cooperation of two German universities, for use in the multi-trillion industrial supply chain and the $2 trillion art and collectibles asset class.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is augmented reality (AR) and how do I view it?
AR is the rendering of digital images or data onto real world objects – in the case of 'Fear and Greed', the rendering of Gordon Cheung’s digital glitch onto his images accessible by pointing your phone camera to them via any screen or in person through the app. Capture it in a photo or video and hare with your family and friends!
This app needs access to: your phone’s camera in order to view and render the digital artwork onto the image and take pictures and/or videos; microphone to record audio for the video; and your photo library to save pictures and/or videos.
The app needs to be connected to the internet to view the AR art installation.
Limitations and restrictions
Problems and limitations may arise when surrounding conditions affecting the image, whether in person or in a screen, are not static. Avoid viewing the installation from anywhere that could cause harm to self or others.