A Populist Stock Market Game
„FearExchange” is a virtual stock market for fears.
Commissioned by NODE – Forum for Digital Arts — shown at NODE 2017, Frankfurt, Germany & Lichter Filmfest, Frankfurt, Germany.
Fears are traded like stocks, by cleverly investing the virtual F€URO currency in popular fear stocks from multiple categories, players aim to become the top fear broker.
“Trading fears like a pro is possible with Florian Egermann’s interactive fear market. It will make your populist dreams come true! The scarier your product, the more impact it will have not only on society but primarily on your account balance. Following studies such as “Die Ängste der Deutschen 2016” (Fears of the Germans) the online game resembles a stock market and turns fears into tradeable stocks by assigning the highest value to the most “popular” ones among them. Based on Social Media hashtag analysis Fear Exchange is always up to date and ready to exploit both tragic moments of shock and horror and personal insecurities for the higher cause: profit.”
– Alexandra Waligorska, NODE – Forum for Digital Arts
FearExchange is a participative net art work and an intervention. The website fearexchange.com, a stock market for fears, enables users to invest play money in fears like „fear of old-age poverty“ or „terrorism“. At the event, FearExchange is present as a mobile fair booth with a presenter and advertisement materials, who invites people to take part. FearExchange turns fears into gaming pieces, and tempts the player´s populistic impulses, a model for current trends in politics.
FearExchange – the intervention
FearExchange is presented as a mobile fair booth consisting of a custom-built table housing a live „Fear-ticker“, with a presenter is engaging the audience, announcing the prospects of the „Fear Economy“. It contains advertising materials like printed „Investor´s“ booklet, buttons and balloons, and the presenter (Konrad Bohley) is playing the role of a web-2.0-marketing-guy.
FearExchange – the browser game
People are invited to register a free account, invest starting (virtual) cash of 100.000 F€UROS, check the stock market price of the fear stocks, and buy or sell them. Starting Stocks and stock categories are based on the Top 20 german fears, and the available stocks will be extended by user-submitted fears. Like in traditional stock market games, players submit orders to buy or sell, and every game cycle these are executed. Stocks rise and fall on demand, and in the long term form a mirror of the collective mind.
A top ten list of „fear brokers“ keeps track of players´ position within the game.
Play the browser stock market game: www.fearexchange.com
A project by Florian Egermann
Konrad Bohley (Performance)
Tim Becker (stock market consultation)
Jasper Diekamp (FearExchange Popup-booth planning & construction)
Philip Egermann (Proof reading & general support)
Almut Elhardt (Photography)
Matthias Krauß (FearExchange Popup-booth planning & construction)