In front of the Frankfurt stock exchange are two statues symbolizing the rise and fall of stock prices and the economy, the bull and bear. The bronze was donated by the stock exchange on the occasion of the celebration of its 400th anniversary, and was erected shortly before the renovation of the stock exchange was completed in October 1988. 2013 was the year Margaret Thatcher passed away, and May 4 was the day she became the UK Prime Minister in 1979.
On May 4 2013, Stephen comments on tourism and the reification of the economy through a guerrilla performance work MIKROÖKONOMIE (microeconomics). Stephen imitates the tourist penchant of documenting their presence in front of a monument, a symbolic gesture of consumption that originated from the “grand view” prevalent in colonialism. However instead of a typical “tourist” pose, Stephen improvises a new vocabulary of stock poses reacting to the bull/bear that manifest the “micro” in microeconomics – how the economy is defined be an elite few who decide what the numbers mean and what they are with no personal repercussion, while every man on the street bears the brunt of those decisions in their everyday lives. Any hardship is sanitized just like the tourist experience. The use of false-color infrared photography creates a lurid effect between the otherworldly and the surreal.
There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
– Walter Benjamin (Theses on the Philosophy of History)