After the presentation at The Photographers' Gallery in London and at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, the exhibition "Monsanto®: A Photographic Investigation by Mathieu Asselin - STOCK EXCHANGE" is shown in Hungary at Budapest based TOBE Gallery.
Monsanto®: A Photographic Investigation by Mathieu Asselin - STOCK EXCHANGE
October 26 - December 8., 2018
Curated by Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo
TOBE Gallery, Budapest
In a meticulous 5-year investigation, supported by archival documentation, courtfiles, personal letters company memorabilia and photographs, Asselin presents the reckless history of growth of the global biotechnology corporation Monsanto. Best known as the leading manufacturer of insecticides DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange and genetically engineered seeds, Monsanto’s practices and products have caused de-vastating human, ecological and economic impacts throughout the company’s long history. Asselin conducted extensive research, travelling through Vietnam and the United States of America to find the people and places dramatically affec-ted by the products manufactured and sold by Monsanto. In this hard-hitting do-cumentation, Asselin exposes the global company’s practices and their cynical efforts to change their negative public image through children’s TV shows and marketing campaigns. Bayer AG. For his presentation, Mathieu wanted to eviden-ce the next chapter of the Monsanto saga, something he was not able to include in the book. This new element focuses on the corporation's merger with pharmaceu-tical giant, Bayer AG and its connection to and influence on the stocks and shares of each company.
In the summer of 2016, it was announced that the German Chemical and Agricul-tural giant Bayer made an offer to take over Monsanto. Bayer holds a two-percent share of the world seed market and is far better known for its Aspirin and Alka Selzer than for its still sizable share in seeds. Monsanto holds 23 percent of the worldwide seed market. The offer was such: Bayer was to pay $62 billion for Mon-santo. It was supposed to be a cash deal, outweighing the biggest cash deal ever made until then, which was the 2008.
According to Bayer's CEO Werner Baumann, who initiated the offer a few weeks after he was installed in his position, the deal would deliver “substantial value to shareholders, our customers, employers and society at large.” Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant found similar promising words: “We believe that this combination with Bayer represents the most compelling value for our shareowners, with the most certainty through the all-cash consideration.” Both statements underline what has become the primary goal in today's stock-market economy: to please and serve the short-term wants of shareholders. Since then, the outlook has changed. Roadblocks have been encountered. Bayer and Monsanto run operations in 30 countries; they need the approval from all 30 antitrust institutions.
A final decision is expected in late spring 2018. The transaction caps a dramatic reshaping of the crop and seed industry. A year ago, the sector had at least a half-dozen global players. After Bayer and Monsanto tie together, creating a leader with $26 billion in combined revenues from agriculture, that number will shrink to just four. Such monopolies are what anti-trust agencies are supposed to prevent.
For the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2018
Buy-out timeline June 2018 August 2018
- June 2018, Bayer successfully acquired Monsanto to become the biggest seed and agricultural chemical maker in the world.
- August 10th, in a California court, the jury ruled against Monsanto and decided that its weed killer, "Roundup", has caused cancer in a former school groundskeeper, Mr Lee Johnson. Working for a school district in California, Mr Johnson mixed and sprayed hundreds of gallons of "Roundup". The jury awarded damages of US$289 million to Mr Johnson
- August 13th Bayer shares, on the first trading day after the verdict announcement from California, closed at a nearly 5-year low, falling 10% to 83.73 euros.
- The next trial involving Roundup, also a state case, is scheduled to begin in October in St. Louis. Dates for lawsuits in federal courts have yet to be set. The trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating at least 5,000 more claims over the herbicide, “Roundup”.
For Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, the Franco - Venezuelan photographer Mathieu
Asselin was awarded for the Aperture Foundation First Book Award in 2017, the Dummy Book Award Kassel 2016, and a special mention for the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2016 at the Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles), his book is shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photo-graphy Foundation 2018.. Beyond the distinguished editorial object, this recognition enshrines an exceptional documentary process conducted for ﬁve years through Vietnam and the United States, which portrays an overwhelming portrait of the ancient and current practices of this giant chemical industry.
The exhibition is part of the Fotóhónap2018 [Hungarian Month of Photography] and of the European Month of Photography official program.