• Volatile Smile
    Beate Geissler, Brian Holmes, and Oliver Sann
    Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2014
    Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann

Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, high-frequency trading workspace #3 and #4, 2010, Chicago. Courtesy of the artists.

Volatile Smile describes the global through the local. It is about Chicago's financial world and its architecture in relation to the global economy. It is about economic globalization, because it is about Chicago. What is it that made Chicago a center of a speculative culture—one that has so rapidly emerged as the non-place where the cybernetic logic bears its strangest and perhaps most powerful fruits? How can we understand John Storrs'  faceless Ceres—the goddess of agriculture, crops, fertility and motherly relationships—from 1928, which sits atop the Chicago Board of Trade building? Volatile Smile provides insights into the mutual impact of real and cybernetic architecture with Chicago as its archetype. The result is an elucidating collage of texts, interviews, and images featuring contributions by Karin Knorr Cetina, Brian Holmes, and Dirk Baecker, as well as numerous supplemental materials, including interviews with traders, analysts, policymakers, architects, and software developers.

Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann were born in Germany; they both live and work in Chicago, Illinois. Geissler received an MFA from the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, while Sann received his MFA from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Their work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, and alternative spaces, including: the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Fotomuseum Antwerp; the NGBK (New Society for Visual Arts) in Berlin; the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; the Fotomuseum Winthertur in Switzerland; and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. They have been the recipients of a number of grants and awards, including: the Videonale Award from the Museum of Art, Bonn, Germany; the Herman-Claasen-Award (Cologne, Germany); and the Dean's Research Prize, from the School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago. They have published two monographs Return to Veste Rosenberg (2006) and Personal Kill (2010). Currently, Geissler is an assistant professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Sann is a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.