Masters Thesis: Royal College of Art

ADS6 Tutors: Clara Kraft Isono, Satoshi Isono & Guan Lee

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Addressing the denial of failure in the City of London’s financial district by focussing on disruptions to a false trajectory of pure growth: the construction, destruction, booms and busts of the Square Mile. 

In a series of installations, interventions and photographs of physical models, the City of London's financial district adopts the design language of construction - safety, urgency and hazard - to articulate the volatile nature of its operations. The design language is applied at different scales including the city uniform, the street scape, office interiors and furniture. The tableaus speculate on a possible future within our neoliberal economic cycle where the financial district is more vulnerable and receptive to its own risky business.

High Vis Pinstripe Detail

High Frequency Austerity

Acrylic Light Box Print

Boom

&

Bust

Flash Boys

Acrylic Lightbox Prints

Status Quo 

Wanderlust

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A disorienting forest of pinstripes, curtain walls and high-tech finishes defines a utility set to defend the premise of competition. In the status quo of city offices verticality speaks of an impossibility of constant growth, banks that are too big to fail, re-enabled and perpetuated by tax payer bail-outs. It is the supporting and distanced relationship that the government has with finance capitalism that enables this power and reach. 

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Rogue Elements

Cataloguing the City

Digital Photographs

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The model photographs below depict moments leading up to an inevitable crash within the cyclical timeline of finance capitalism. They portray an environment that speaks of the high risk, overheated and under-slept reality of the City - a world that ordinarily presents itself as infallible and anonymous within a landscape of darks suits and curtain walls.

Rogue elements come to the fore. A curtain wall inflates the seams of seamlessness through enhanced silicone joints; scorched intumescent paint outperforms column encasements and conference rooms surpass trader floors into the ductwork for lack of space. Competition here is still rife but running on adrenaline. In the furore of the insatiable market, despite alarms of failure it is business as usual.

Active Management

Adaptive Expectations

Antitrust

Appreciation

Assymetric Shock

Assets​

Backwardation

Bankrupt 

Barter

Bear

Bear Market

Blue Chip 

Bonds

Boom and Bust

Bootstrapping

Bottom up analysis

Break-even point

Bubble

Bull

Bull Market

Business Angel

Business Confidence

Business Cycle

Buyers Market

Cannibalise

Capital

Cautious Fund

Collateral

Commodities

Common Goods

Compound interest

Conditionality

Convertible Bonds

Coupon

Closing

Cyclicals

Creative Destruction

Credit Creation

Credit Crunch

Crash

Defensive Stocks

Deflation

Depression

Diversification

Dow Jones

Drip Price

Early Retirement

Emergency Fund

Encumbered

Escalation

Excess

Facility

Fixed Interest

Floatation

Floating rate

Free Trade

Fringe Benefits

Hot Money

Hyper Inflation

Income drawdown

Inequality

Inflation

Insolvent

Intangible Assets

Invisible Hand

Invisible Trade

Junk bond

Gearing

Gilt

Growth

Hedge Funds

Leverage

Liberalisation

Liquidity

Marginal

Market Failure

Market Forces

Market Power

Maturity Date

Medium Term

Merger

Misery Index

Mobility

Modelling

Moneterism

Money Illusion

Money Markets

Money Supply

Monopoly

Monopsony

Moral Hazard

Net Assets

New Growth Theory

Null Hypothesis

Nominal Value

Oligopoly

Open Economy

Opportunity Costs

Overheads

Overheating

Overshooting

Over the Counter

Petty Cash

Private Equity

Random Walk

Rate of Return

Rationality

Real Returns

Recession

Regular Bonus

Surrender Value

Switching

Systemic Risk

Taper Relief

Tick

Tied Adviser

Toxic Tranches

Trade Area

Transfer Pricing

Transmission Mechanism

Transparency

Treasury

Trough

Trust

Turnover

Unregulated

Uncertainty

Unemployment

Utility

Usury

Value

Value Added

Value at Risk

Venture Capital

Vertical Equity

Velocity of Circulation

Volatility

Wealth Effect

Weightless Economy

Winner-takes-all

Working Capital

Yield

Yield Curve

Yield Gap

Zero Coupon Bonds

Zero-Sum Game

Intumescent Columns

Acrylic lightbox print of 1:25 physical model

Silicone Seal Curtain Wall

Acrylic lightbox print of 1:25 physical model

Financial Services Conference Room 

Acrylic lightbox print of 1:25 physical model

High Frequency

Austerity

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The rogue elements operate in a City that is susceptible to the smallest of vicissitudes, or milliseconds. As Donald Mackenzie outlines, the race to maintain a leading position within the global market now concerns the speed of trading which has reached ultra-fast possibilities due to HFT. As yet this high frequency transmittance does not operate across the distance of the Atlantic and Europe still relies on fibre optics for trading relations with America. Due to the fact that the UK receives fibre-optics faster than Frankfurt from the USA, London still has the advantage of a thousandth of a second.

 

The project speculates on a possible future where this technological barrier has been overcome. With the same speed of growth experienced in the financial big bang of 1986, high frequency trading has brought about an accelerated reduction in trading. London is no longer a leading financial centre but an underdog in the global economy. Drawing upon the types of work conditions created by cuts amid austerity in other sectors of society, the City now conducts business without the same insurance from the government. A cheaper and under-experienced workforce working longer hours are among some of the measures of austerity carried out within the CIty. A high frequency austerity sees a reduced, cheaper and under-experienced workforce that works at hours more suitable to the leading foreign markets.

Systemic Risk. London 3:42am

Photographic Print 

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Working Capital at dawn

Collaged Photographic print

Service Chair 

Galvanised steel cable tray and plasticised tool grip

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