The global 500

An installation by Oliver Ressler


“These companies are organizing themselves politically. They are grouping together in corporate-lobby-groups with the clear aim to get political influence in countries and in international organizations.”
(Olivier Hoedeman in the video The global 500)

The 500 largest companies, which are annually published in a ranking by the economic magazine Fortune, as transnational “global players” can be seen as the main protagonists of economic globalization.

“The global 500” (“Setting the Pace”), photography on paper, 100 x 70 cm, 1999
“The global 500” (“Strong & Growing”), photography on paper, 100 x 71 cm, 1999
“The global 500” (“New Prospects. New Perspectives”), photography on paper, 98 x 74 cm, 1999

Starting point of the project “The global 500” is research done on the websites and the annual reports of the 500 largest transnational companies. The installation and corresponding video are based on a selection of these corporate statements representing different strategies and discourses of economic globalization. In the video (SD, 76 min., 1999) these hegemonic globalization theses are discussed, analyzed and criticized by representatives of unions and NGOs, theorists and an economist:

Charles R. Acland (Cultural and Media Theorist, Concordia University Montreal)
Arjun Appadurai (Director of Globalization Project, University of Chicago)
Andy Banks (Campaign Manager, US Teamster Union, Washington)
Olivier Hoedeman (Corporate Europe Observatory, Amsterdam)
Aquiles Magana (Head of the Mexican Union FALD)
Birgit Mahnkopf (Professor for European Politics, Berlin School of Economics)

“The global 500”. Installation view: “Marx Update”, Ojo Atómico, Madrid, 2004
“The global 500”. Installation view: “The global 500 and Other Stories”, W139, Amsterdam, 1999
“The global 500”. Installation view: “World-Information.Org”, Centre Brussels 2000, Brussels, 2000

In the installation, selected pages of the corporate annual reports, which can be seen as a visual representation of “globalization”, are shown in a manipulated version as a series of nine photographs.

The installation “The global 500” was presented in the following exhibitions:
“The global 500” (solo show), Galerie Stadtpark, Krems (AT), 1999
“The global 500 and Other Stories”, W139, Amsterdam (NL), 1999
“Social Machine Money”, O.K – Center for Contemporary Art, Linz (AT), 1999
“The global 500” (solo show), Truck – Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Calgary (CA), 2000
“What, How & For Whom”, HDLU – Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb (HR), 2000
“Parallel Reality”, Hay Art Cultural Center, Yerevan (AR), 2000
“World-Information.Org”, Centre Brussels 2000, Brussels (BE), 2000
“World-Information Exhibition”, Technisches Museum, Vienna (AT), 2000
“Marx Update”, Ojo Atómico, Madrid (ES), 2004
“Sparwasser HQ at Platform”, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul (TR), 2004