Primarily a painter through the 1980s, Treister has - since the 1990’s - been a pioneer in the field of new media art, developing fictional worlds and international collaborative organisations. Utilising various media, including video, the Internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing and watercolour, Treister has evolved a large body of work which engages with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research. Often spanning several years, her projects comprise fantastic reinterpretations of given taxonomies and histories that examine the existence of covert, unseen forces at work in the world, whether corporate, military or paranormal.
HFT The Gardener comprises multiple bodies of work by the fictional character Hillel Fischer Traumberg. Traumberg is an algorithmic high-frequency trader (HFT) who experiments with psychoactive drugs and explores the ethno-pharmacology of over a hundred psychoactive plants. He uses gematria (Hebrew numerology) to discover the numerological equivalents of the plants’ botanical names with companies in the Financial Times Global 500 Index. He communes with the traditional shamanic users of these plants whose practices include healing, divining the future, entering the spirit world and exploring the hallucinatory nature of reality. Traumberg develops a fantasy of himself as a techno-shaman, transmuting the spiritual dimensions of the universe and the hallucinogenic nature of capital into new art forms. He becomes an outsider artist whose work is collected by oligarchs, bankers and museums. Unaffected by success, he continues his parapsychopharmacological research, working on a new algorithm to discover the true nature and location of consciousness and to determine whether psychoactive drugs open a portal to the holographic universe.
“HFT The Gardener extends Treister’s fascination with esoteric translation, the cybernetics of consciousness, and the hallucinatory aesthetics that radiate from real-world circulations of power. Her fictional character Hillel Fischer Traumberg is an HFT—a high frequency trader. But this HFT is also a contemporary version of HCE, the hero of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, who struggles to awake in the wake of modernity’s dissolution of the boundaries that separate art, nature, language, math, money, and the traumatic Traum of history.“
Erik Davis, San Francisco based author
Suzanne Treister studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1978–81) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981–82). She is now based in London having lived in Australia, New York and Berlin. Treister’s work is held in private and public collections including Tate Britain, London; Science Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. Recent exhibitions include solo and group shows at the ICA London; 10th Shanghai Biennale, China; 8th Montréal Biennale, Canada; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Raven Row, London; Secession, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art (CAPC) Bordeaux; PPOW, New York.
A fully illustrated 40-page catalogue is available. HFT The Gardener is also published as a 240-page fully illustrated book by Black Dog Publishing, London (copies available).