Soft Crash, 2016. Single channel HD computer generated film, 5"46.
Soft Crash is a short CGI film commissioned for London's Southbank Centre as part of their 2016 "Power of Power" festival.
The concept was inspired by an unusual card game I played in 2004: at the point where one player should have won, the few remaining cards kept circulating endlessly in limited permutations. Unexpectedly, the game had reached a deadlock where no player could win. It was only after many rounds of play that we realised something was wrong: one card was missing from the deck.
This missing part had created the conditions for a kind of structural stability. No player could win, yet no player could lose so long as they continued circulating the cards. The free market of the game had become a cartel, a system of limited liability and risk based on collusion. Or an oligopoly, the stability of which curiously depended on a fundamental absence at the centre of the game.
Soft Crash takes this game model and speculates on how it might be mapped to the financial collapse of 2008 and the subsequent public bank bailouts, austerity economics and recent trend towards nationalist isolationism. It's a visual rendering of a neoliberalist endgame, where wealth and power are trapped in a closed system for the 1%.
Sound Design by Mustafa Bal and Alan Warburton.
Fountain Louvois scan by HongHiepVu on Sketchfab.
Muscle Rig by Martin Gunnarson.
Building Generator by Microbot.
Thanks to Nestor, James Cowdery, Bob Simon at LSE and Edmund Aldhouse.