Rodrigo Azaola


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A little worse



2021
Single-channel HD video with sound. 7’34’’.


A little worse looks at the GameStop stock short squeeze of January 2021, a frenzy retail buyout fueled by the gamification of financial platforms and Internet forums. This was a rebellion of armchair bankrupt investors, in dire economic despair but flushed with Covid-19 cash hand-outs. For a few days, the narrative favored the bold, and fortunes were made and lost. I even took some stock positions, investing money from an art grant.

The narrative behind the short squeeze was that of a coordinated rebellion against hedge-funds' stern financial maneuvers, driven by amateur financial analysts calling to “make a stand” against Wall Street. Not without irony, the imagery encoded desires actually reinforced the system of behaviors demanded for the effective reproduction of capitalist power, including relations of class, race, and gender.

The project follows on from my previous work A little better, in which I explored sensibility and imagination as an analysis tool for geopolitics, emphasizing what Sara Ahmed deems “affective economies”, or emotions as a kind of capital.

A little worse is a visual diary, from January to June 2021, about the emotions and aspirations of amateur shareholders and their justified and somewhat futile critique of Wall Street’s financial opacity. This memoir was made while realizing a 900% return on my investment.