In their recent film MASQUERADE, a 51min 'factual-fiction reportage', a TV-reporter tells the story of the protested IPO of Art House Index in Istanbul. While the reporter is addressing the camera, what appears to be a reconstruction of the 'Initial Public Offering' is taking place in the background. But 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?
MASQUERADE addresses a specific intersection of the contemporary art and finance markets, through the filter of Melville's novel The Confidence Man: His Masquerade (1857) as the structure for its episodic narration. The film takes its name from the subtitle of Melville’s novel. In their film Vermeir & Heiremans present the financial market as the 'mise en scene' and a leading character of the narrative.
Next to a single screen version of MASQUERADE, the artists also created a live 'installation version' of their film, in which the financial market influences the real-time 'cutting' of the film. The actual performance of AHI–, showing the index going up or down in 'real time', triggers a switch between two timelines, one of which shows the fully post-produced 'finished' film while the other captures variations, rehearsals and outtakes. The artists have no control over the 'editing' of MASQUERADE, the markets creating a 'unique' moment in time as it is statistically highly improbable the audience will ever get to see the same combinations twice.
HD video, 55’, sound & colour, Belgium, 2015
Inaugural presentation: 2015
Production: LIMITED EDITIONS vzw
Executive production: JUBILEE vzw
Co-production: Bernaerts Auctioneers (Antwerp), 4th Dojima River Biennale (Osaka), Goldsmiths, University of London, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Musea Brugge, Stroom Den Haag, Triennale Brugge 2015, V2_Institute for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam)
Supported by Flemish Audiovisual Fund (Filmlab) and the Flemish Community
TV Reporter: Andrea Phillips
Musician/Director/Producer: Michael Schmid
Frank Goodman, Market Watcher: Werner Van Steen
Artist duo: Vermeir & Heiremans
Mon Bernaerts, Philip Brackx, Hans Bruysinck, Elien Hanselaer, Nav Haq, Liliane Keersmaeker, Heike Langsdorf, Karlijn Sileghem, Peter Sileghem, Fatos Ustek, Sun-Mee Vanpanteghem, Werner Van Steen, Mi You
and about a hundred Extras recruited by 'In the Picture'
Concept, Scenario & Direction: Vermeir & Heiremans
Camera 1: Amir Borenstein
Camera 2: Katleen Vermeir
Camera 3: Yishai Gassenbauer
Sound/ Bruitage: Justin Bennett
Edit & Effects: Vermeir & Heiremans / Borenstein
Production: Katrien Reist, Marjolein van der Boon, Reintje Daans
Set Design: Dieter Leysen, Ciel Grommen
Set Construction: Gaia Carabillo, Louis Philippe
Light: Ludo Engels, Jeroen Wuyts
Costume: Mieja Hollevoet, Lieve Meeussen, Fauve Ryckebusch
Legal advice: Sari Depreeuw
Financial Advice: Peter Sileghem, Werner Van Steen
Still photography: Michael De Lausnay