Duration 00:24 (Looped)
Edition 1 + 1 AP
Commissioned by arebyte in collaboration with National Gallery Zimbabwe
Unlike the clear market (shopping malls, Amazon) or the black market (unmarked guns, drugs) the grey market falls between the cracks of what’s legal and illegal. What tends to make up the grey market are goods bought and sold outside of authorised distribution channels, like a warehouse worker vending excess inventory of cell phones, or the mafia referring to handbags, electronics and groceries as ‘fallen off the truck.’
When people migrate from the countryside into cities due to droughts, floods, natural or manmade disasters, they can find themselves confronted by a system that has already shut their doors on them. Unable to provide appropriate paperwork, schooling or even the vernacular and social capital to weave themselves into a comfortable living, their options become slim. Instead, the grey market will appear in front of them, and some people live inside the grey market, in permanent precarity.
In the course of human history, no other objects survive in similar precarity like precious metals. Gold, silver, rhodium and platinum inhabit a state of flux of value, legality and market border crossing. Precious metals become parabolic, and they can easily be wrapped around the facade of a modern wristwatch.
Isaac Kariuki is a visual artist and writer whose work centres on surveillance, borders, Internet culture and the black market, in relation to the Global South. His work has taken the form of image, video, lectures, writing and performance. He is the founder of Diaspora Drama, a biannual publication exploring creative people of colour with overarching themes of the Internet and technology.