/11 Wealth

Michael Najjar

high altitude

In January 2009 Michael Najjar stood on the summit of
Mount Aconcagua, at 6,962 meters the highest mountain
in the world outside of the Himalayas. The photographic
material gathered in the course of the three week trek
forms the basis of the “high altitude” work series.
The series visualizes the development of the leading global
stock market indices over the past 20-30 years. The virtual
data of the stock market charts are resublimated in the
craggy materiality of the Argentinean mountainscape.
Just like the indices, mountains too have their timeline,
their own biography. The rock formations soaring skywards
like so many layered folds of a palimpsest bear witness
to the life history of the mountain – stone storehouses of
deep time unmeasureable on any human scale. The immediate
reality of nature thus becomes a virtual experience.
Such experience of virtuality is strikingly exemplified by the
global economic and financial system. If the focus used to
be on the exchange of goods and commodities, it is now
securely on the exchange of immaterial information.
The information society has brought about a tectonic shift
in our understanding of space and time. Humankind is
confronted with a process of such dynamic complexity that
the borderlines we seemingly identify at one moment are
already sublimated in the next. In future the virtual value
system could demand its proper reincarnation in the real
world. The jagged rock formations of “high altitude” are emblematic
of the thin edge separating reality and simulation.

www.michaelnajjar.com www.twitter.com/studio