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 — The Trend Is Your Friend! — A peformative and interactive artistic environment
by Sylvia Eckermann and Gerald Nestler
Sound architecture: Peter Szely

The Trend Is Your Friend
! — A performative and interactive artistic experiment
MKL Kunsthaus Graz 2009

Trends are all the trend today. The analysis of economic trends, of flows of finance and of commodities in global markets is a powerful tool for shaping our world. The question arises, to what extent does it exert influence on our notions of the individual, of community and of society?

In their artistic approach, Sylvia Eckermann and Gerald Nestler challenge the ideas of self-interest and capitalist market schemes. They created—in collaboration with a team of specialists—a performative and interactive space of action that allows the visitors to play a game in which they experience what it means to be part of a complex system of relations. TIYF! is a machine that is constructed from visuals and sound, and is triggered by robots. The work questions the economic world and the market place—this persistent environment that surrounds us. It asks: How can we influence this environment and what is our role in the "game"?

Video documentation
More info at

To enter the audiovisual environment, you need to slip underneath an architecture that is stretched right through the space horizontally and put your head through an opening. This ‘body-mind-split’ leaves your body in the real world while your mind becomes embedded in a 270° projection space. You are already wearing a headset—the interface: Your head is the joystick with which you participate. 3 huge digital video scenarios visualizing different forms of value preferences constitute the virtual worlds of markets. They relate to notions of Utopia, Combat, and Value.
You are one of 7 human and 5 robot ‘traders’ who can directly influence the video content by shouting “buy” or “sell”. But because you are not alone, you cannot influence the system on your own—it is a subtle and complex system of relations based on a real market model that matches all information. What happens is the result of all the buy and sell orders of the traders.

TIYF! is an artistic market simulation in which we invest our value preferences. But in contrast to actual markets we can also abandon the idea of monetary gain. TIYF! allows us to play a game that stretches the idea of markets to a field of negotiations, in which we may pursue new forms of communicating communality and develop more intelligent ways of inhabiting the complex relations we live in. Do we decide to reach common goals beyond the individual pursuit of profit, beyond an economisation of life?

In TIYF!, the artists raise questions that go beyond an artistic array of (symbolic) values: Are we becoming a part of an economisation that promises profits and wealth but at the same time implements enclosures and standards of behavior? Are individuals who are opposing the ‘biopolitics of market trendiness’ becoming socially marginalized? Is the individual the actual loser in such a game of life? Is a new breed of derivative ‘multiformity’  in the global casino of individualized risk regulation commodifying our own unknown future(s)? And how can we successfully create deviations, interferences, and ruptures, in which individuals can build relationalities beyond market schemes?

Online catalogue


Idea, Concept, Artwork: Sylvia Eckermann | Concept, Research, Text: Gerald Nestler | Sound architecture: Peter Szely | System architecture: Winfried Ritsch | Pd, Game programming: Marius Schebella | GEM Render Library Programming: Johannes Zmölnig | Display Environment, Team TU, Graz: Markus Murschitz, Christian Pirchheim, Univ. Prof. Dieter Schmalstieg, Manuela Waldner | Robotics: Florian Krebs | Additional 3D-Animation: Josef Wienerroither | Insects animation: Fatih Aydogdu | Camera: Hans Kraxner, Cosimo Hnilicka | Architecture: Andreas Baumgartner, Christina Romirer | Photo and video documentation: Martin Krusche |
Market model: Wolfgang Höchtl |

Special thanks go to:
Ndombi Kande, Ammed Omar Osman, Markus Bauer, City-Thong Vienna |
Bertl, Fattinger & Partner, Prof. Romuald Bertl und Martina Haas
Production Medienkunstlabor: Winfried Ritsch | Curated by: Mirjana Peitler |

MedienKunstLabor | Kunsthaus Graz, 2009 link
Director: Winfried Ritsch
Curated by Mirjana Peitler

In cooperation with: steirischer herbst 09
The Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision (TUG)
The Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (KUG) |

Supported by: BMUKK | City of Vienna Department of Cultural Affair | City of Graz Department of Cultural Affairs | SKE austromechana |