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by Howie Chen


"I hated working there. I looked for outlets at work and thought of ways to sneak out of work early."

This artist book began at the equity derivatives desk of Lehman Brothers before the collapse of the company in 2008, where curator and artist Howie Chen worked as an analyst before entering the art field. Transformers is in essence a record of boredom during the ‘irrational exuberance’ of the late ‘90s, before the 'new normal' of crisis capitalism, and the Great Recession of 2008 which led to Lehman's downfall. While at work between tasks, Chen photocopied a dollar bill everyday on the office copier, taking the previous day’s copy and feeding it back into the machine. Over months, the image of the dollar bill became distorted with each generation. Shrinking and blistering, the image started to escape the page and soon disappeared into abstraction. Transformers presents these images in serial digital form and is accompanied by a text tracing the different transits and experiences for this material and its form as a publication. Chen's Transformers is remarkable snapshot of one of the greatest aesthetic movements of the early 21st century—Financialism.


Ebook ISBN: 978-1-936440-36-8

145 pages


Howie Chen

Howie Chen is a New York–based curator involved in collaborative art production and research. Chen is a cofounder of Dispatch, a curatorial production office and project space founded in New York City... more