Toymakers is a study of the “deal toy,” a sculptural object made to commemorate significant financial transactions. Since the 1970s, such trophies, also known as lucite tombstones, have been produced in sets of a few dozen on the occasion of mergers, acquisitions, and public offerings of stock (IPOs).
Toymakers looks at the production and aesthetics of these customized, limited-edition objects as a means to consider the relationship between finance and artistic labor. Filming inside a factory in Quebec, Canada Toymakers documents the detailed and skilled labor of the workers that craft these intricate and kitschy objects, documenting the subtle and complex ways in which the flows of capital are mediated through the body.
Ben Thorp Brown works with video, sculpture, and performance to explore how human experience is transformed by technology and capitalism. His work seeks to develop possibilities for human agency within complex systems through embedded research, process, and collaboration with a range of participants. His recent work has been presented in exhibitions such as Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016, The Whitney Museum, Greater New York MoMA PS1; 24/7 the human condition Vienna Biennale, Speculative Presence Bischoff Projects, and Chance Motives SculptureCenter.
Toymakers, 2014, HD Video, color, sound, 13 min. Courtesy of the artist and Bischoff Projects