Standard of Capital, a 7-minute animation screened in September 2021 on San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower, explores modern-day migration patterns resulting from war, neocolonialism, and climate change. Using a video game aesthetic reminiscent of military war simulations and the tower’s gridded screens to mimic stock market display monitors, the animation highlights the interconnectedness between capitalism and war. Initially inspired by the Sumerian artifact Standard of Ur’s War and Peace panels, currently in the collection of the British Museum, the animation draws attention to the plundering of cultural treasures that occurs during war. The animation's Assyrian figures are extracted from their original tablet context, serving as a metaphorical reference to Iraqi refugees displaced by U.S. invasions. These figures loop at the top of the tower, symbolizing a reversal of the surveillance and control mechanisms used in prison system watchtowers.
Standard of Capital was completed as part of Jim Campbell’s monthly Midnight Artist Collaboration @salesforcetower, curated by Emma Strebel, and in partnership with Boston Properties. It is also in connection with Shimon Attie’s Night Watch programming, the Bay Area’s first 2021 multi-city and social justice event co-produced by Catharine Clark Gallery, BOXBLUR, and Immersive Arts Alliance.
Everyday throughout September 2021, 12am–1am (PST). Salesforce Tower Top.
Standard of Capital, 2021; animation, 7:04 minutes. Documentation by Christopher Paddock.