THE INVISIBLE HAND 2014


THE INVISIBLE HAND
with sound by James Hayes
HD video 13:41mins 2014


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.

The Invisible Hand 2014

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 with 180 degree views over a high rise housing estate 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 residential and I can view people in their local environment. It’s pretty every day stuff, kids, prams, supermarket, notice board, dogs, waiting, playground, talking, looking although people who live here seem to be aware of the camera at times.

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 period I was recording my visits to Beloozerski at least three 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. The invisible hand is used today by polictical-economists as a 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) The self regulating market is the basic precept of the Laissez-faire economy we are familiar with today. Smith's metaphor proposes that individuals efforts for personal profit will positively effect society as the rich create a trickle down effect through employment and their own consumption creating demand. And the every day consumer exercising thier choices wil have the power to determine the success or failure of a product or service.

Observing Beloozerski Russia from my tablet screen in Melbourne Australia feels distant and insignificant but I find myself feeling a connection to this place. My research identifies that the building right below the camera is an artschool, and the local Artist Union - organisations that were established during the Soviet era and is still operating today.




THE INVISIBLE HAND
digital print on rag paper
42x30cm 2014

ELVIS RICHARDSON
Represented by Hugo Michell Gallery 
& Galerie pompom