HFT The Gardner, Suzanne Treister, part of Liverpool Biennial 2016
As part of Liverpool Biennial 2016 (July – October 2016), Suzanne Treister’s HFT The Gardener is exhibited for the first time in the UK by Exhibition Research Lab (ERL). Comprising 174 works, the exhibition features artworks created by the fictional character Hillel Fischer Traumberg, a banker turned ‘outsider artist’.
Traumberg is an algorithmic high-frequency trader (HFT), who experiments with psychoactive drugs and explores the ethno-pharmacology of over 100 psychoactive plants. He uses gematria (Hebrew numerology) to discover the numerological codes in the plants’ botanical names, finding their equivalents with companies in the FT Global 500 Financial Index.
Traumberg communes with the traditional shamanic users of these plants, whose practices include healing, divining the future, entering the spirit world, and exploring the hallucinatory nature of reality. He develops a fantasy of himself as a techno-shaman, transmuting the spiritual dimensions of the universe and the hallucinogenic nature of capital into new art forms. Ultimately, he becomes an ‘outsider’ artist whose work is collected by oligarchs, bankers and museums. Unaffected by worldly success he continues his parapsychopharmacological research, working on a new algorithm to discover the true nature and location of consciousness and to determine whether psychoactive drugs open a portal to the holographic universe.