All that is Solid Melts into Air

Mark Boulos’ video installation artwork All That Is Solid Melts Into Air shows that capitalist competition and commodities seem to have metaphysical properties. Trading in futures and derivatives, people agree to buy commodities that do not exist yet that should exist in the future. Boulos explores political militancy or religious ecstasy, and the moment when belief is so transcendentally held that it becomes real. Boulos shows the fierce competition and conflict that exists over oil and wealth that destroys indigenous ecology and brings sorcery or capitalism into direct conflict with magical belief systems – systems where forest spirits protect the locals from the bullets of the agents of colonisation. Oil in the ground is deployed as a commodity even before it is released from the ground through the predictive telekinetic power of futures derivatives, leaving behind a world on the brink of environmental collapse and social inequity. All that is Solid Melts into Air demonstrates Bruno Latour’s concept of action at a distance as it is applied to theories of empire and networks of centre and periphery. Globalisation occurs through action at a distance and creates a world dominated by capitalistic competition. McKenzie Wark’s notion of telethesia, a word originally coined as being inseparable from the word telepathy, describes low theory engagement of tele-technological game-space. Telethesia is defined through the example of how the 2011 global Occupy movement became an abstraction. Wark’s telethesia minimises esoteric and ghettoistic occultist thinking about action at a distance in favour of situationist rewiring of telekinesis. Wark and Boulos address it more as a form of Marxist action at a distance.