MArch Unit 16 :: Trade…The Course of Empire :: Simon Herron / Jonathan Walker

UNITSIXTEENcontinues its restless exploration into the myths of the near future. Reflecting again on the complex physical and immaterial boundaries of Wealth and Power at the centre of state in the age of the Anthropocene.

Trade in its simplest form is a transactional arrangement or exchange, between peoples or countries, for the buying and selling of goods and services. Trade is a fundamental mechanical unit of labour and commerce. Trade is both noun and verb.

Free Trade, by definition, is a laissez-faire practice with little or minimal interference. This requires the strategic policy of governmental to not discriminate against Imports or interfere with exports by the application of tariffs. That said, even an established free trade policy, does not necessarily imply governments relinquish or abandon all control and taxation of imports and exports. All activity, all work, has an economic cost, all of which needs to be balanced. Trade has consequences, economic, social and political. Unitsixteen will explore the mechanisms, apparatus, and infrastructure of trade.

Central to trade is the protective ownership of ideas, allowing their commercial exploitation. Copyright, Patent, Trademarks and Trade-Secrets which until the mid 20th Century were considered as analogous but still distinct. Boundaries have become blurred, now collectively seen as Intellectual Property, managing the slippery complexities and distinctions between the material and immaterial nature of matter.

We will focus our studies at the heart of Empire, Trafalgar Square, the epicentre of wealth and power, surrounded by the institutions of state, a bridge to capital. A static scene, curiously out of step in both time and space.

“…I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday’s newspapers, in the jejune advertisements of science fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams. Time turns metaphors into things.”
Robert Smithson

Simon Herron + Jonathan Walker FIELD WORK: Venice to Berlin


Solar Systems And Restrooms –
[External window into the work and interests generated within unitsixteen]

UnitSixteen Work –
[Internal unit workspace and speculative forum for the active exchange of ideas within the unit].


***Image: Susanne Isa