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kunstraum niederoesterreich


Radical aesthetics and the consequences of extreme events

Curated by: Sylvia Eckermann, Gerald Nestler, Maximilian Thoman


An exhibition project at KUNSTRAUM NIEDEROESTERREICH 25 09 - 05 12 2015

and in the public space of Vienna with projects in collaboration with TONSPUR Kunstverein Wien and WUK.performing.arts


WORKS NEXT > Technopolitics (AT)


axel stockburger (AT)


Axel Stockburger

Fat Finger Confession, video still © Axel Stockburger 2013


axel stockburger (AT)


Fat Finger Confession, 2013

HD-video (color, sound), 21:00 min. Concept/Text/Post-Production: Axel Stockburger; Camera/Light: Lukas Heistinger; Actor: Joe Remick


The term "fat finger incident" is used in the context of the world of finance in order to designate human errors, such as wrong keystrokes. A very prominent example is the so-called "flash crash," which took place on May 6, 2010 and temporarily wiped out trillions of dollars worth of stock. While most media assumed a fat finger incident as the cause of the crash, it is highly probable that so called "rogue algorithms"—computer programs employed for automated high frequency trading—are to blame. The video stages an interview with a trader who confesses to be the culprit behind this historical crash.

Contemporary trading is automated to such an extent that it seems almost soothing to assume direct human responsibility for errors, thus marking the human being as the glitch in a digital cybernetic system. Since many automated trading systems operate on a speed that lies beyond that of human perception, the assumption that a single human could be responsible for catastrophic events has the function of an ideological operation pointing to a time in history when responsibility was still in the hands of human agents. Fat Finger Confession engages with the paradox that we seem to feel safer if a catastrophic event is caused by human agency rather than the automatic systems, which were, after all, invented by us.