aesthetic, according to Wolfgang Welsch, has several semantic variants. One of
them is a phenomenalistic one. Referring to this variant, I show that the
aesthetic is something more than a secondary component of electronic capital
markets, which reflects what is happening to them and supports economic actors
in their investment decisions. Namely, it is something that reaches out to such
important things as the very existence and functioning of financial markets,
their moral and social legitimization, the mode of participation of economic
actors on these markets, their experiences and behavior and the popularity of
investing in the markets. Thus, it can be said that the aesthetic is an
integral and constitutive element of capital markets and not just their
supplement, which only represents these markets and supports financial subjects
in their investment behavior.
aesthetic dimension; financial markets; investing; visual form
Welsch is one of the researchers who try to define the concept of the aesthetic
not only to avoid criticism that highlights its irreducible polysemy and
vagueness and, as a result, its unusability, but also to include various things
and phenomena going far beyond the sphere of art and that which is artistic. By
referring to Ludwig Wittgenstein's idea of family resemblance, he distinguishes
a number of semantic elements of the expression "aesthetic" that,
taken all together, create a family of meanings. In turn, this family makes it
possible that various phenomena and objects can be subsumed under the category
of "aesthetic," even though there does not exist any commonality
shared by these phenomena and things.
many semantic elements of the expression "aesthetic," such as the
aisthetic, callistic, artistic, and virtual, Wolfgang Welsch also enumerates
the phenomenalistic semantic element that is associated with such connotations
as "seeming," "phenomenal," "superficial," "external,"
and "placing special emphasis on surface appearance." Delineating
this semantic element a little, one may say that in the phenomenalistic variant
of the term "aesthetic," "the aesthetic" is that which is
"external," "surface," and "related to
appearance." In other words, in this meaning "the aesthetic"
refers to the visual side of objects, people, and phenomena.
to this semantic variant of the concept of the aesthetic, this article addresses
the aesthetic dimension of financial markets that is the visual form in which
the capital markets appear to the eyes of economic actors on the screens of
their computers. However, my investigations are not limited only to the
analysis of the form and enumeration of its main features. Here, my aim is far
wider and more profound. That is, based on the findings of researchers from
various scientific disciplines, I endeavor to show that the visual form, and
consequently that which is aesthetic, performs functions that go far beyond
mere representation of what is happening in financial markets, and beyond mere
support of economic actors in their investment choices and decisions. Namely,
it also performs functions that reach out to such things as the very existence
and functioning of capital markets, their moral and social legitimization, the
mode of participation of economic actors on these markets, their experiences
and behavior, and the popularity of investing on the financial markets. In my
opinion, functions of this kind do not point only to the political, social, and
cultural dimension of the visual form. They also indicate that the visual form,
and consequently that which is aesthetic, is an integral and constitutive
element of these markets and not just a functional supplement to them, as it is
Characteristics of the visual form
contemporary reflection on the modern, electronic, and global financial
markets, it is stressed that to a large extent their landscape is determined by
the new electronic media, especially by computer screens. As such, the screens
are not empty or clean "surfaces" but "surfaces" that are
filled with a specific content. What is more important, this content does not
appear to the eyes of financial subjects as something disorderly, accidental,
and chaotic but takes a specific and orderly form. In other words, it presents
itself to the economic actors in a characteristic visual form that has certain
features and which is subjected to "aesthetic rationalization."
feature of the visual form is abstractness, that is, the abstract character of
what one can see when one is looking at the financial computer screen. However,
abstractness does not reveal itself in one concrete way but in many ways. On
one hand, it manifests itself in the omnipresence of numbers on the computer
screens of economic actors, which are fundamental for them, for it is on them
that they base their economic calculations and action.
The Omnipresence of Numbers. Source: https://stooq.pl/.
other hand, its manifestation is a variety of geometric figures and abstract
shapes that fill the screens of financial computers, sometimes to such an
extent that they create something of a "geometric landscape," as in
the case of the so called "Market Map," that is, advanced visual
representation that shows on one screen the changing prices of shares of listed
Map of the Market (1998). Source: http://www.bewitched.com/marketmap.html.
the abstractness manifests itself in various types of tables and charts that
are an inseparable part of computer screens of financial subjects. Charts are a
characteristic element of the financial screens, accompanying, as Alex Preda
shows, speculative financial practices from at least the mid-1830s.
Financial Chart. Source: https://stooq.pl/.
for some economic actors, they turn out to be everything that they need for
investing. One example may be the so-called technical analysts, investors who
sometimes do not even know what exactly the company does whose shares they
trade. They do not have to know this because all they need to make an
investment decision is a history of the share prices of this company, more
specifically, their historical chart.
second characteristic of the visual form in which financial markets present
themselves to the eyes of economic actors is the processuality of what fills
the screens of their financial computers. This processuality consists primarily
in the fact that the numbers, figures, shapes, tables, charts, and
"maps" are in constant motion and continually changing. In other
words, financial screens are changing its visage from minute to minute so that
what financial subjects see is becoming rather than is; processuality "is
characterized by what it is not yet, rather than what it is at any
moment." This is
pointed out by Karin Knorr Cetina, when she stresses that "the screen
reality – the carpet – is processual in the sense of an infinite succession of
non-identical matter projecting itself forward as changing screen."
important is that while the reality of the screens of the computers of economic
actors is continually changing its appearance, the process takes various, more
or less dynamic, forms. In other words, just like in the case of abstractness,
the processual character of what financial subjects see also manifests itself
in several ways. First, it manifests itself in a zigzagging line of a financial
chart that does not move with a constant speed, but has moments when it zigzags
with more or less intense dynamics.
Second, it manifests itself in flashing in a special color of fragments of
the screen. Naturally, just like in the case of the zigzagging line of a
financial chart, this kind of manifestation of the processuality of the visual
form in which financial markets appear to economic actors also possesses a
dynamic character constituted mainly by the frequency with which the fragments
of the screen pulsate in addition to their number. Third,
the processual nature of what financial subjects see is also expressed in the
changing colors on the screens of their monitors, a good illustration of which
may be the so-called "Market Map." Fourth, the processuality
manifests itself in basic financial pieces of information that move along the
information line and that include the name of financial instruments, their
symbol, current price, and trading volume or percentage change compared to the
latest listings. As such,
this kind of manifestation of the processual character of the visual form is
probably the least dynamic because the symbols and numbers that move from the
right side of the bar to the left move at a constant speed, thus giving the
impression of monotony of financial exchange on capital markets.
and last feature of the visual form is interactivity. By
interactivity I mean here the possibility for economic actors of influencing
the appearance and content of their monitor screen. In other words, they can
manipulate the images of financial exchange that takes place on the capital
markets and, based on this manipulation, react to what they see on the screens
of their computers. For example, they can divide the monitor screen into more
or less windows or reduce their number. Then, they can manage the distribution
of these windows and their size to match them both to the limited area of the
monitor screen and to the readability requirements.
Moreover, the interactive nature of the form allows them to decide not only
about the number, layout, and size of windows into which the screen is divided
but also about their content. Thus, they can manage the content of highlighted
windows not only in the sense that they can decide which of them will present a
list of listed shares, for example, and which a stock market index, but also
that they can determine what shares will be on this list and what index the
chart will be of.
I should note that the subject of my
interest is the aesthetic dimension not so much of financial markets as such
but first and foremost of electronic capital markets. This kind of approach may
raise the question of whether the features of visual form I distinguished, such
as abstractness, processuality, and interactivity, belong only to electronic
capital markets or whether we can also find them in relation to open-outcry
markets, that is. where trade takes place face to face and is based on specific
calls and gestures. I believe that an answer has been provided by Alex Preda,
who emphasizes the fact that the introduction of the stock ticker in the 1870s
resulted in radical abstraction and reconfiguration of the visual experience of
the financial market, thanks to which it began to appear as a living whole and
something that has a processual character. Therefore, from his
perspective, the visual form I describe, along with the defining features, has
its roots on the markets that preceded electronic capital markets, and thus
this form is not exclusively the property of the latter.
If so, one may ask what
is its specificity in relation to electronic markets and what is the point of
distinguishing it? It should be remembered that although the features of the
visual form can be found in both types of markets, there are clear differences
between the abstractness, processuality, and interactivity of markets operating
in the open-outcry system and the abstractness, processuality, and
interactivity of electronic markets. First, in terms of abstractness, although
both open-outcry and electronic markets are represented by means of numbers,
each deals with a different medium and tool of this representation. In the
first, the medium and tool is the trader's body, while in the second it is the
computer screen. Second, as far as
processuality is concerned, changes in quoting represented by the stock ticker
tape in the open-outcry system have a completely different dynamics from the
changes represented by the zigzagging graph line or flashing screen fragments.
(In the case of the latter, this dynamic is much higher.) Third, when it
comes to interactivity, the most pronounced difference is the following. In the
case of open-outcry markets, economic actors receive representations of capital
markets with which they can actually do nothing but enter into mental
interactions with while, in the case of electronic markets, they can afford
much more complex interactions. All these comparisons regarding abstractness,
processuality, and interactivity display significant differences in the
functions and consequences performed by the visual form of open-outcry
financial markets and the visual form of electronic capital markets. This is
why it is important to highlight what is involved in the visual form of today's
electronic financial markets.
distinguished the features of the visual form in which financial markets appear
to economic actors, it is worthwhile to consider the issue of functions that
are part of abstractness, processuality, and interactivity of what financial
subjects see on their computer screens. This is an important issue because, as
I will try to demonstrate below, the abstractness, processuality, and
interactivity are not neutral and irrelevant, neither for the capital markets themselves
nor for the subjects participating in them. I will begin my reflection on this
issue from the first feature of the visual form discussed above: abstractness.
view, abstractness performs the following important functions. First, geometric
and abstract shapes, graphs, tables, or "maps" through which this
abstractness manifests itself make visible what previously was invisible. Their
work and significance is therefore analogous to the work and significance that
printouts and flat inscriptions have, according to researchers from the field
of study of science and technology. That is to say, thanks to such shapes,
graphs, tables, or "maps", like in the case of the aforementioned
inscriptions, financial subjects, just like scientists, can see anything at all
and consequently analyze, classify, and learn more about it. As
Grahame F. Thompson emphasizes, it is not the case that we first analyze the
company or the economy and then present it visually by means of diagrams,
charts, figures, tables, and symbols. Rather, it is these charts, figures,
diagrams, tables, and symbols that guide the way in which we understand and get
to know the economy or the company in question. Thus,
"simple geometrized two-dimensional shapes" that economic actors see
on their computer screens, are what allow them to see anything at all, subject
it to analysis and research, and as a result get to know it.
highlighted shapes, charts, tables and "maps" make financial exchange
items and the market itself independent of people who exchange these items and
of the place where this exchange takes place. Thanks to the transformation of
the market and its components into abstract lines, figures and numbers on the
financial chart or in geometric shapes on the so-called "Market Map,"
the market becomes a being that can move between different places and contexts.
What is more, it can move between these places and contexts under the same
unchanged form, which enables economic actors to analyze and examine the
market. As such, the shapes, graphs, tables and "maps" turn out to be
what Bruno Latour calls "immutable mobile," that is, "cognitive
instruments for transporting complex social entities across various
contexts." It is these instruments, thanks to their characteristics
(mobility and unchangeability), that make investment as a general activity
possible, and also make possible the existence of the market as an integrated
homogeneous network, which is not limited to a single marketplace, but which
extends across heterogeneous events.
these charts, tables and "maps" that are the manifestation of the
abstractness of the distinguished visual form, reduce the financial complexity
and thus the uncertainty with which economic actors in their everyday practices
on the financial markets face. Standing in the place of economic actors, and
also in the place of financial instruments and financial processes, they
transform the multidimensional and complex world of capital markets with its
large number of different "inhabitants" into a less complicated
two-dimensional world filled with only geometric and abstract lines, shapes,
figures, and numbers. As such, they are the kind of frames described by Ekaterina
Svetlova and Jakob Arnoldi in the context of financial markets. They emphasize
that the frames reduce the number of possible worlds, highlight a certain set
of market scenarios, "limit decision possibilities, focus and structure
the information, and help to interpret market events while they define
boundaries for perception, meaning and communication."
Moreover, given that "any economic action is based on attempts to reduce
uncertainty and complexity," it becomes clear that geometric and abstract
charts, tables, and "maps" act as a frame and, having reduced
financial complexity and uncertainty, enable financial exchange and valuation
in capital markets.
the highlighted charts, tables, and "maps" that make up the
abstractness pave the way for the vision of the market as something that
constitutes a coherent entity governed by its natural laws. As Alex Preda
emphasizes, stock price charts not only represent the financial market but, by
doing so, also present it as a single entity with its own dynamics and history. Marieke
De Goede speaks in a similar vein, noting that the financial charts and tables
do not represent the financial reality of the capital market as much as they
allow it to be seen as a coherent sphere that has its own laws and regularities
and, as a result, its own inner life cycle. On the
other hand, Detlev Zwick, in relation to the so-called "Map of the Market,"
indicates that the aesthetics of its shapes "gives back to observers a
reassuring perception of the rationality and the wholeness of the economic
order they are confronting." As an
example of this last point, we can see that abstract and geometric diagrams,
tables, and "maps" through which the abstractness is manifested not
only generate the image of the market as something coherent but the image also
calms down economic subjects. The vision of the financial market as a coherent
whole governed by its own dynamics and laws does much more than just carry a
specific image of the market. As such, this vision also affects financial
subjects in that it gives them a sense that the market is something that can be
captured, understood, and predicted, as it is enough to know the laws and
regularities that govern it; a sense without which it is difficult to imagine
that they would be so willing to participate in capital markets. Thus, the
mentioned shapes, charts, tables, and "maps," paving the way for the
idea of the market as something that constitutes a coherent and natural being
governed by its laws, turn out to be an important factor that affects the
participation of economic actors in the financial circulation on capital
the image of financial markets as a coherent sphere that has its own laws
causes not only the psychological consequences of feeling the familiarity and
the predictability of the financial market but also has social and political
consequences related primarily to the status and place of finance in
contemporary societies. As Marieke De Goede suggests, it is this image that
opened the way for finance as a scientific field. This
scientific nature of finance, in turn, allowed and still allows it to
distinguish itself from gambling and, as a consequence, to obtain moral and
social legitimization. The
scientific character has always enabled finance to defend itself against
accusations of gambling by indicating that the activities of financial subjects
differ from the activity of gamblers because they are based on scientific
principles of methods and formulas developed on the basis of laws governing financial
markets. Thus, abstract and geometric charts, tables, and "maps"
through which abstractness is manifested gave rise to the idea that the market
is a coherent and natural being governed by its own laws and is morally and
socially legitimate, unlike gambling. This shows that the process of financial
abstraction (separation from gambling, games of chance, and, in a wider
perspective, from social, cultural, and the political context) has played out
and continues to play out not only at the discursive level, but also in the
sphere of what is aesthetic.
abstractness, processuality is not meaningless for the capital markets and
their participants, either. Namely, the processual nature of what financial
subjects see on their computer screens promotes or even generates a certain
type of participation on the capital markets. That is, it promotes and
generates the type of participation that is characterized by continuous
presence, permanent attention, and constant observation. As such, this type of
participation is mainly related to the fact that only thanks to this presence,
attention, and observation can they follow and react in time to variations in
the prices of financial instruments. These are the variations, in the market
mediated by information and communication technologies, that prove to be the
most important kind of financial data.
aforementioned kind of participation has further consequences, among which we
can indicate the fact that continuous presence, permanent attention, and
constant observation is connected with continuous monitoring and referencing to
one's own actions and behavior. Moreover, this kind of participation is related
to emotional attachment to the market and financial instruments. As Alex Preda
suggests, this attachment results in "giving the stocks one more
chance," that is, in the behavior that is a manifestation of bias, which
in behavioral finance is referred to as the "disposition effect" and
involves holding for too long shares whose prices are falling. In
addition, it is worth noting that continuous presence, permanent attention, and
constant observation require that financial subjects coordinate the schedule of
their daily lives with the "schedule of the machine," even submitting
to the latter. It should also be added that the
aforementioned features of participation open the gate for new factors
determining the investment choices of economic actors. Namely, while still present on the market,
that is, before the financial screen and permanently focused and constantly
watching it, they start paying attention not only to what is happening on it
but also to how it happens. In other words, they start paying attention to how
the financial exchange, which they see on the screens of their computers, takes
place and continues. To be more precise, they begin to pay attention to such
things as the frequency with which the screen fragments are flashing or the
length of breaks between these "blinks," and on this basis begin to
make investment decisions.
important consequence of continuous presence, permanent attention, and constant
observation that characterizes the participation of economic actors on
technologically advanced financial markets is also the fact that such features
of the participation favor a certain kind of experience in financial subjects.
I am thinking, in particular, of the experience of totally losing oneself in
the reality of the financial screen or in something that, following Urs
Stäheli, can be described as a "spectacle of pure contingency." Because
of its features, this is an experience that is close to what Friedrich
Nietzsche described as "Dionysian ecstasy," and is considered one of
the border forms of aesthetic experience by philosophers and aestheticians.
effect of visual processuality in which financial markets appear to financial
subjects, associated with promoting or even generating a specific way of
participating in financial exchange on capital markets and the resulting
consequences does not obviously exhaust all the functions that the
processuality fulfills. In addition to the effect already mentioned, it also
fulfills what could be called a marketing function, that is, it gives
investment on the financial markets the value of attractiveness by making it
fascinating, pleasant, and appealing, thus contributing to its popularity. This
is indicated by the massive share of individual investors in financial exchange
on the capital markets.
this happen? Well, the constant movement and endless becoming creates the image
that these markets never sleep, that they are constantly changing, mutating,
evolving, and developing so that one never knows what form they will take in
the future and in which direction they will go. In other
words, the processuality transforms them on the screen into a world full of
secrets, surprises, dangers, and promises; into a magical world that fascinates
and attracts economic actors to itself. As such, it is a world that offers them
various kinds of experiences and pleasures. Namely, it offers them the thrill
that can be caused by any "blink" of the screen or by any change of
its color. Moreover, it exposes them to experiences of surprise, amazement, and
astonishment whenever it takes a certain form on the screen and goes in a
direction that they have not expected. In addition, this world opens them to a
special kind of pleasure. As it is full of riddles, mysteries, dangers, and
surprises, the experiences of exploring, interpreting, analyzing, and research
themselves become something pleasant, in the sense that they become an endless
adventure. The more one pursues this adventure, the more it raises puzzles and
questions and the more it binds one to the explored and studied world. In
short, the processuality of the visual form transforms capital markets in the
eyes of economic actors into something that Detlev Zwick and Nikhilesh Dholakia
call "the object of epistemic consumption." Such an object is
characterized by the lack of ontological stability and completeness of being
because of the fact that this thing constantly acquires new properties and
changes those that it already has, that
it always finds itself in the process of being materially defined. This
transformation that results in such features of the "object of epistemic
consumption" is responsible for the unprecedented and lasting fascination
of the masses with electronic financial markets.
addition to abstractness and processuality, the third feature defining the
visual appearance of financial markets, interactivity, also plays a significant
role in making the experience of the financial subject of the markets pleasant,
cool, appealing, and attractive. The interactivity thus fulfills a marketing
function, in the same way processuality fulfills function, by giving the
financial subjects an appealing experience, thereby contributing to its
ask again, how does the interactivity of the visual form make investing a
pleasant activity, thus contributing to its popularity? In my view, it happens
in several ways. First of all, the interactivity of the visual form combines a
feeling of control with pleasure through connection with freedom, autonomy, and
Second, the interactivity gives economic actors a sense of agency based on
the possibility of deciding and influencing what is or will be found on the
financial screen. This feeling, as shown by Janet H. Murray, is one of the
three most important pleasures offered by the digital environment. Third,
the interactivity of the visual form is one of the conditions of the flow
experience of flow is associated with extremely positive feelings, in the sense
that the person who has experienced the flow has a strong sense of happiness
following it. Thus,
the interactivity makes investing and trading on capital markets a pleasant
and, as a result, popular activity by contributing to a sense of control and
agency and the state of flow.
light of the above-mentioned remarks, it is obvious that what is aesthetic
plays various functions when it comes to capital markets. First of all, it
fulfills a function and entails social consequences whenever and wherever the
visual form in which the financial markets present themselves promotes or even
generates a certain type of participation of financial subjects in these
Second, it performs a function and causes political consequences in the sense
that the visual form, by opening the way for the possibility of finance as a
scientific field, allows it to differentiate itself from gambling and speculation
and, consequently, obtain moral and social legitimacy. Third, it performs a
cultural function and has cultural consequences. Namely, the visual form
contributes to the attractiveness of investing and trading in these markets
and, as a result, to its popularity among the masses, further contributing to
the creation and development of such socio-cultural phenomenon as "mass
Fourth, the visual form provides aesthetic experiences. Importantly, it does
so in two ways. First, by being subjected to "aesthetic rationalization,
it brings about the impression of order, tidiness and harmony, that is, the
impression combined with the experience of beauty. Second, by encouraging or even generating a
certain type of participation of financial subjects on capital markets, it
opens them to the aesthetic experience of losing themselves on the financial
screen. This is the experience that is a completely different form of aesthetic
experience compared to the experience of beauty.
it should be equally clear that the aesthetic performs functions and has
consequences that go far beyond what is associated with just representing and
mirroring what is happening on the financial markets and with only supporting
economic actors in their investment choices and decisions. This becomes
particularly evident in the role that the visual form plays particularly for
its abstract character. As I have already argued, abstract and geometric
shapes, charts, tables, and "maps" that reduce financial complexity
and thus uncertainty in financial subjects enable a financial exchange on
Moreover, as I have already indicated, the enumerated shapes, charts, tables,
and "maps" make possible the existence of financial markets as an
integrated unified network that is not limited to one specific place but
extends across various events.
Therefore, the visual form and, in the wider perspective, that which is
aesthetic plays a crucial role in making possible the existence of capital
markets and of financial exchange with consequences that are clearly
constitutive and performative for these markets.
Marcin M. Krawczyk
Krawczyk is an Assistant Professor at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in
Lublin, Poland. His research focuses primarily on the meaning of the aesthetic
in the financial world. Currently, he is working on his book (in Polish)
entitled: "Aesthetics and Finance. On the Place and Role of the Aesthetic
on the Electronic Financial Markets."
Published December 5, 2019.
 W. Welsch, Undoing Aesthetics (London: Sage, 1997), p. 9.
 In this essay, even though I generally rely on the results of
empirical surveys published by researchers from different scientific fields, I
sometimes allow myself a certain degree of speculation, especially when there
are no such results and surveys. One example of this is the issue of the
relationship between flow experiences and the popularity of investing on
capital markets. To my knowledge, there are no empirical studies that would
confirm the suggestions that I have put forward that flow experiences as
experiences that induce a very positive psychic state in economic actors have a
connection with the popularity of investing on financial markets. Nevertheless,
these kinds of suggestions are worth making even in the absence of any
 C. Zaloom, Out of Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to
London (Chicago: University Chicago Press, 2006), p. 176; also M. Pryke,
"Money's Eyes: The Visual Preparation of Financial Markets," Economy
and Society, 39, 4 (2010), 427-459; ref. on 434.
 See C. Zaloom, "Ambiguous Numbers: Trading Technologies and
Interpretation in Financial Markets," American Ethnologist, 30, 2
(2003), 258-272; ref. on 259-265.
D. Zwick, "Where the Action Is: Internet Stock Trading as
Edgework," Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 1
(2005), 22-43; ref. on. 29.
 See A. Preda, "The Rise of the Popular Investor: Financial
Knowledge and Investing in England and France, 1840-1880," Sociological
Quarterly, 42, 2 (2001), 205-232; ref. on 225.
 See P. Roscoe, C. Howorth, "Identification through Technical
Analysis: A Study of Charting and UK Non-Professional Investors," Accounting,
Organizations and Society, 34, 2 (2009), 206-221; ref. on 206.
Zwick, N. Dholakia, "Bringing the Market to Life: Screen Aesthetics and
the Epistemic Consumption Object," Marketing Theory, 6, 1 (2006),
41-62; ref. on 52.
 K. Knorr
Cetina, "From Pipes to Scopes: The Flow Architecture of Financial
Markets," Distinktion. Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, 4, 2
(2003), 7-23; ref. on 16.
 Interactivity is a concept that is characterized by a multiplicity of
definitions. Some of them emphasize the idea that interactivity is a function
of the medium itself and, as such, depend only on the technology used in
communication processes while others stress that it lies in acts of perception,
that is, in the minds of the participants of communication. Still others
distinguish between human interactivity and interactivity of the media,
interactivity of content and interpersonal interactivity (see S. Kiousis,
"Interactivity: A Concept Explication," New Media & Society,
4, 3 (2002), 355-383; ref. on 356, 358), and also between closed and open
interactivity (L. Manovich, The Language of New Media (Cambridge: MIT
Press, 2001), p. 59), mental and physical (R. Konik, "Immersyjny Plac
Zabaw. Gra Jako Dromenon," ["Immersive Playground. Game as
Dromenon,"] DYSKURS: Pismo Naukowo-Artystyczne ASP we Wrocławiu,
13-14 (2012), 326-340; ref. on 334-335), or cognitive and explicite (E.
Zimmerman, "Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four Naughty
Concepts in Need of Discipline,” in First Person: New Media as Story,
Performance, Game, eds. N. Wardrip-Fruin, P. Harrigan (Cambridge: MIT
Press, 2004, pp. 154-164; ref. on 158). In this article, I am closest to the
definition by Jonathan S. Steuer, according to which interactivity is "the
extent to which users can participate in real time in modifying the form and
content of media-mediated environment.” (J. S. Steuer, "Defining Virtual
Reality: Dimensions Determining Telepresence," Journal of Communication,
42, 4 (1992), 73-93; ref. on 84).
 See A. Preda, "Socio-Technical Agency in Financial
Markets: The Case of the Stock Ticker," Social Studies of Science, 36 , 5 (2006), 753-782;
ref. on 765,767,772.
 See C. Zaloom,
"Ambiguous Numbers," 258, 263-265.
 See B. Latour, S. Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Social
Construction of Scientific Facts (London: Sage, 1979); M. Lynch,
"Discipline and the Material Form of Images: An Analysis of Scientific
Visibility," Social Studies of Science, 15, 1 (1985), 37-66; B.
Latour, "Visualisation and Cognition: Thinking with Eyes and Hands,"
in Knowledge and Society Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and
Present, eds. H. Kuklick, E. Long, (London: Jai Press, 1986), pp. 1-40.
 See G. F. Thompson, "Encountering Economics and Accounting: Some
Skirmishes and Engagements," Accounting, Organizations and Society,
23, 3 (1998), 283-323; ref. on 284.
passage is from B. Latour, "Visualisation and Cognition," 16.
 See B. Latour, "Visualisation and Cognition," 16; and A.
Preda, "The Rise of the Popular Investor," 205-207, 221, 227-228.
 See J.
Arnoldi, "Frames and Screens: The Reduction of Uncertainty in Electronic
Derivatives Trading," Economy and Society, 35, 3 (2006), 381-399;
ref. on 385, 391; and E. Svetlova, "Framing Complexity in Financial
Markets: An Example of Portfolio Management," Science, Technology &
Innovation Studies, 4, 2 (2008), 115-130; ref. on 118.
 J. Arnoldi, "Frames and Screens," 382.
 See A. Preda, "The Rise of the Popular Investor," 226-228.
 See M. De Goede, Virtue, Fortune, and Faith: A Genealogy of
Finance (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), p.
89, 101, 119-120.
 D. Zwick, "Where the Action Is," 28.
 See M. De Goede, Virtue, Fortune, and Faith," p. 125.
Marieke De Goede’s approach, modern finance has achieved its scientific status
and respect primarily by appropriating both statistical practices and moral
asceticism from natural sciences. (See M. De Goede, "Resocialising and
Repoliticising Financial Markets: Contours of Social Studies of Finance," Economic
Sociology_The European Electronic Newsletter, 6, 3 (2005), 19-28; ref. on
21; also M. De Goede, Virtue, Fortune, and Faith," p. 125).
 As Marieke De Goede emphasizes, in early modern Europe there was no
conceptual difference between finance and gambling. (See M. De Goede, Virtue,
Fortune, and Faith," p. 50; also R. Aitken, "Performing the
Limits of Finance," Journal for Cultural Research, 18, 1 (2014),
78-98; ref. on 82).
 See A. Preda, Framing Finance: The Boundaries of Markets and
Modern Capitalism (Chicago/London: Chicago University Press, 2009), p. 132.
 See A. Preda, Framing Finance, p. 135; and H. Shefrin, M.
Statman, "The Disposition to Sell Winners too Early and Ride Losers too
Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, 40, 3 (1985),
777-791; T. Odean, "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their
Losses?," Journal of Finance, 53, 5 (1998), 1775-1799.
 Of course this means sometimes very deep changes in the daily life of
an individual, consisting not only in the fact that he or she stops activities
such as going for walks to a nearby park but routine behaviors and activities,
such as sleeping, getting up, or eating meals start to revolve around the
opening hours and closing of global exchanges. (See A. Preda, Framing
Finance, p. 128; and J. Núñez, "A
Clinical Economy of Speculation: Financial Trading and Gambling Disorder in
Spain," Cultural Anthropology, 32, 2 (2017), 269-293; ref. on
 U. Stäheli, Spectacular Speculation: Thrills, the Economy, and
Popular Discourse (Standford: Standford University Press, 2013), p. 54.
 See F.
Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (London:
Penguin Books, 1993); and A. Zeidler-Janiszewska, "Od ‘Dionizyjskiej
Ekstazy’ Do ‘Świeckiego Objawienia’. O Jednej z Granicznych Form Doświadczenia
Estetycznego," ["From ‘Dionysian Ecstasy’ to ‘Secular Revelation’. On
One of the Forms of an Aesthetic Experience,"] Estetyka i Krytyka,
9/10, 2 (2005/2006), 267-278.
 In my view, mass participation of “Mr. Smith" in a financial
exchange on capital markets is an effect of such factors as the abolition of
formal obstacles to mass investment and the spread of the Internet. However, it
is also a result of the attractiveness of investing itself, that is, the
pleasures it provides. I therefore agree with Elton McGoun and his colleagues
that if investing were not also entertainment, then there would be much less of
it. (See E. McGoun et al., "Walt's Street
and Wall Street: Theming, Theater, and Experience in Finance," Critical
Perspectives on Accounting, 14, 6 (2003), 647-661; ref. on 649).
 See D.
Zwick, N. Dholakia, "The Epistemic Consumption Object and Postsocial
Consumption: Expanding Consumer-Object Theory in Consumer Research," Consumption,
Markets and Culture, 9, 1 (2006), 17-43; ref. on 30-32.
 See D. Zwick, N. Dholakia, "The Epistemic Consumption Object and
Postsocial Consumption," 30-32; and K. Knorr Cetina, "From Pipes to
 See D. Zwick, N. Dholakia, "Bringing the Market to Life,"
 In the sense that the feeling of control is a key dimension
or a component that defines interactivity. (See R. R. Dholakia, et. al.,
"Interactivity and Revisits to Websites: A Theoretical Framework," RITIM
Working Paper (2000), p. 6, Available at http://ritim.cba.uri.edu/wp/, accessed
17 September 2018). As such, this feeling is
generally something pleasant because it is connected with a sense of freedom
and autonomy and satisfies the human need to be competent and professional.
(See e.g. P. Konana, S. Balasubramanian, "The
Social-Economic-Psychological (SEP) Model of Technology Adoption and Usage: An
Application to Online Investing," Decision Support Systems, 39, 3
(2005), 505-524; ref. on 515; J. M. Burger, "Negative Reactions to
Increases in Perceived Personal Control," Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 56, 2 (1989), 246-256; ref. on 247).
 See J. H. Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative
in Cyberspace (New York: The Free Press, 1997), pp. 126-153.
Although, of course, the condition is insufficient and, above all, contributing
to the increase in the subjectively felt intensity of the flow state. (See D.
L. Hoffman, T.P. Novak, "Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated
Environments: Conceptual Foundations," Journal of Marketing, 60, 3
(1996), 50-68; ref. on 61).
 See M. Csikszentmihalyi, "If We Are So Rich, Why Aren't
We Happy?," American Psychologist, 54, 10 (1999), 821-827; ref. on
 In the sense that this kind of participation is not neutral when it
comes to social issues. Constant presence, permanent attention, and constant
observation "pulls" the said subjects from their previous life and
social ties, replacing these ties with "post-social" relationships
thus becoming a social problem. (See (K. Knorr Cetina, "Postsocial
Relations: Theorizing Sociality in a Postsocial Environment," in Handbook
of Social Theory, eds. G. Ritzer, B. Smart [London: Sage Publications,
2001], pp. 529-537). What is more, this "breaking out" and
"replacing" can take on a pathological form. (See J. Núñez, "A Clinical Economy of Speculation”.)
 See, for example, R. Aitken, "The Democratic Method of Obtaining
Capital – Culture, Governmentality and Ethics of Mass Investment," Consumption,
Markets and Culture, 6, 4 (2003), 293-317.
 It seems worthwhile to note that this kind of aesthetic experience
may have a negative impact on the financial results of economic actors on
financial markets, in the sense that during this experience they can act
impulsively and, as a result, irrationally. Moreover, the desire for this
experience, which is generally pleasant, as with most of aesthetic experiences,
may result in an exaggerated trading in financial assets. And the too-active
trading in financial instruments has a negative effect resulting in worse
financial outcomes among economic actors. This has been underscored by Brad M.
Barber and Terrance Odean. (See B.M. Barber, T. Odean, "Trading Is
Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual
Investors," The Journal of Finance, 55, 2 (2000), 773-806). Therefore, it
is worth remembering that the visual form and, in a wider perspective, that
which is aesthetic carries with itself consequences that are not only positive
but can also be negative for economic actors and the results achieved by them
on financial markets.
 The above-mentioned abstract and geometric shapes, charts, tables,
and "maps" enable financial exchange on these markets, in the sense
that such an exchange requires participation of financial subjects that, in
turn, requires the reduction of the complexity of capital markets along with a
certain degree of certainty in these subjects. This is what abstract and
geometrical shapes, graphs, tables, and "maps" do, that is, they
reduce the complexity mentioned above along with providing a certain amount of
certainty to financial subjects.
 See A. Preda, "The Rise of the Popular Investor," 221-228.
 I would like to thank the reviewers of Contemporary Aesthetics
for their invaluable suggestions and the editor for her tremendous support.