The Invisible Hand 2014

The Invisible Hand 2014
with sound by James Hayes
HD video 13:41mins

I have an app on my tablet called World Live Cams Pro where the user can view live streams from security cameras located around the world. One of my favourite cameras to visit is located in a Russian village called Beloozerski.

The camera is mounted on the side of a tall residential building that houses the local Artist Union - organisations that were established during the Soviet era and still operating today, with 180 degree views over a suburb of high rise apartment housing situated in a semi-rural area 80 kms from Moscow. The app allows the user to control the high definition camera; pan left and right, up, down as well as zoom controls. I like the location because it is high density residential an every day local environment rather than typical CCTV spots in commercial or tourist districts.  

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990 housing in Russia was fully state owned and while rents were very low, apartment sizes were very small and based on an allocated sqm per person, also people didn't have any choice about where they lived. Since the 1990s all Russian's have been given the title of their rental properties for free. Following this process of individual privatisation, the private construction/ housing/ mortgage market has taken hold. Over the short period I was recording my visits to Beloozerski many new high rise buildings have been built.

My movement and control of the cameras singular heavenly view found another socio-economic reference in the term ‘the invisible hand’ conceived of by political economist Adam Smith in 1759,  to describe his theory of the self regulating behavior of the free market where acting in ones self interest produces socially beneficial results (the term was most used during the greed is good 1980's). Smith's metaphor proposes that individuals efforts for personal profit will positively effect society as the rich create a trickle down effect effect through employment and their own consumption creating demand. And the power of the every day consumer will be exercising thier choices to determine the success or failure of a product or service.  Sounds balanced and legit. Not.

The Invisible Hand has been exhibited in CCP Declares The Social Contract curated by Pippa Milne Centre of Contemporary Photography, Melbourne 2016, and Fontanelle Gallery, Adelaide 2016.