’[Architecture] has become a kind of real virtuality, in which, from the point of view of markets and those who manipulate them, the actual, tangible existence of anything that can plausibly be called a useful object (i.e. a real building) has been superceded by a set of representations. These representations are strictly speaking, abstract, in the same way that commodities prices are only distantly related to the commodities underlying them, and are tied more to their conditions of circulation, to speculative future value, and so on…’
Reinhold Martin, ‘Financial Imaginaries, Toward a Philosophy of The City’
_THE CHAPELS OF THE 21st CENTURY
As global financial markets become increasingly more complex and abstracted they will require a disproportionate amount of faith in order for them to be able to operate. This project juxtaposes the fundamental abstraction of today’s financial markets against the traditional faith systems at work in modern day religion and in doing so presents an image of the new chapels of the 21st Century.
The project takes place in the hall of The Church of St. Mary Le Bow, Cheapside, London and in an extension to the original Norman crypt below the church. The original crypt has been extended deeper below ground to allow for the creation of three new chapels:
- The Chapel of Collateralized Debt Obligations
- The Chapel of High-Frequency Trading
- The Chapel of Special Purpose Entities
In these new chapels the intangible financial processes that take place within the complex market mechanisms of 21st Century late capitalism have been concretised into a mix of physical and virtual forms that directly relate to the specific financial system or product that each chapel represents.