Svarvargatan 2, SE-112 49 Stockholm +46 (0)8-651 84 26 Newsletter MORE


Strike Anywhere
Benj Gerdes & Jennifer Hayashida

“Strike Anywhere” is a video essay that takes as its point of departure Swedish “Match King” Ivar Kreuger, whose privatization of financial crisis management strategies bears a direct relation to late-twentieth century policies implemented by the IMF and WTO. Between 1917 and 1932, Kreuger capitalized on shifts in global financial markets to control over 200 companies and establish matchstick monopolies in at least 34 countries. At the height of his success, Ivar Kreuger was worth approximately 30 million Swedish kronor (the equivalent of 100 billion USD today) and had matchstick monopolies in at least 34 countries. The project is both a prehistory of neoliberal economics and an allegory about social relations and desire in the wake of global capitalist expansion and excess.Visually, “Strike Anywhere” incorporates previously unseen archival photographs, corporate charts and documents, and documentary sequences staged for the camera or observed during research and everyday life. The sequence of the piece is organized loosely as a passage between different spaces and the conflictual meanings these spaces produce––including the Swedish National Archives, the former company headquarters(still known today as the “Match Palace), and two match factories continuously in operation since the early 1900s. The project juxtaposes footage of these factories with interviews with two Kreuger researchers. Both men espouse views, accumulated over years of unrecognized research, that differ from the popular histories of Kreuger in Sweden or the United States. Through a juxtaposition of these interviews with the present-day match manufacturing process, the film depicts the extant factories as carryovers from an older form of industrial capitalism. The factories have persisted while the world around them has shifted, in part due to financiers similar to Kreuger. Conceptually, “Strike Anywhere” is a spatio-temporal diagram where visual and linguistic articulations of power point to the instability between archival document and event, iconography and cultural memory, present tense and historical remove. These structures of depicting and interpreting the world – charts, testimonies, and photographs alike – stand as subjective, deliberate, and equally susceptible to attempts at ideological revision. In realizing the layered structure of “Strike Anywhere,” we are interested in provoking a counter-historical dialogue about collective rethinking of economic and political possibilities in the present. Populus Tremula & Strike Anywhere are part of series of projects by Benj Gerdes & Jennifer Hayashida entitled “Room of the Sun.”

Aspect ratio 1.78:1 (16:9)
Prod. format Generic HD-video
Duration 00:32:00
Color Color
Year 2009
Rent this work for public screenings

About the artists

Benj Gerdes

Benj Gerdes

Benjamin Gerdes is an artist, writer, and organizer working in video, film, and related public formats, individually as well as collaboratively. He is interested in intersections of radical politics, knowledge production, and popular imagination. His work focuses on the affective and social consequences of economic and state regimes, investigating methods for art and cultural projects to contribute to social change. Gerdes’s projects emerge via multiple articulations from long-term research processes conducted in dialogue with activists, trade unionists, architects, urbanists, geographers, and archival researchers. Prior to coming to the Institute for Futures Studies, he was based at the Royal Institute in Stockholm, where he conducted research and led a professor group in fine art and moving image for 5 years.

Jennifer Hayashida