Zero Magic

Zero Magic is a trick for the financial markets, which has the capacity to undermine the perceived value of a publicly traded company.

For Zero Magic, we spent three years infiltrating a secretive hedge fund in the US and reverse engineering its short selling practices (i.e. the practice of selling shares that one doesn’t own). In collaboration with stage magician Malin Nilsson and finance sociologist Théo Bourgeron, we have developed a magic trick for the financial markets that has the capacity to undermine the perceived value of a publicly traded company and to profit from this.

The stage performance “On a Long Enough Timeline the Survival Rate for Everyone Drops to Zero” (2015) and the magic demonstration Acid Money (2017) both introduce the audience to the magic trick and set it in the context of ”conspiracy magic”; a practice in which magicians make use of their techniques and methods for political purposes, beyond the stage. Each performance stages Zero Magic on the financial markets and offers a special opportunity to bring some magic with you home. For the 2017 exhibition Manipulate the World at Moderna museet, Stockholm, 10% of the proceeds of each entrance ticket was invested in the financial magic.

The abacus-framed magic box contains the Zero Magic computer software, a US patent application for a “Computer Assisted Magic Trick Executed in the Financial Markets” and four historical examples of magic tricks played out beyond the stage, in the world at large. Zero Magic was presented as a PhD dissertation at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, 2016.

Further reading