On Friday September 12, 2008 the CEOs of America’s largest banks were summoned to the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan to prevent the unwinding of the economy. Little is known about what happened that weekend at the Fed. Until now.
“Jamie Dimon: Before the Nation Went Bankrupt” is a solo multimedia lecture performance that tells the story of the 2008 financial crisis through the semi-fictional love letters of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
The performance humorously presents a more libidinal version of the events of one seminal weekend of the crisis, where the CEOs of the biggest banks were summoned for a weekend conference at the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan. It speculates on the mindset of this cynical bunch who pulled the economy back from the precipice, much to their benefit. The performance uses cringe inducing satire of those bankers, and Dimon in particular, to expose the metaphoric creep of neoliberal ideology into all areas of life.
The letters are based in truth, many of the details of the weekend are facts. At times the letters in the performance expand into conjecture to lay bare some of the contradictory myths of late capitalism. Dimon is the perfect foil; vain, desperate to be liked by all, and yet immensely powerful. As this power teeters at the edge of oblivion, he has time to reflect on the roots of his brand of capitalism; from the enlightenment, to colonial rule and to present day machine run markets. The letters in the performance are a cry in the dark from the insular world of high finance that continue to bring us all to the brink of financial, physical and moral ruin.
The performance blurs the line between subject and performer. As the Jamie Dimon onstage wrestles with the abstractions in his life, the composed tone of the performance unhinges. The abstractions of the economy have begun to unravel and are having disastrous effects in real life. At the same time, the abstracted distance from which Dimon has lived his personal life and formed his opinions of the world is also collapsing. As his world implodes, a white man in a suit, confidently assured of his place at the center of attention, begins to unwind.
Please register for the event here