by Teresa Barrozo
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines early this year, the economy was one of the branches of society that took the toughest blow. However, the stock market data is hardly the first thing people think of when discussing coronavirus statistics, and understandably so. In ₱, I am bringing forward the stock market’s position in the coronavirus narrative and highlighting the flesh and blood that drive this highly technical collection of data by translating the Philippine Stock Exchange index chart to an aural composition.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index or PSEi consists of 30 companies and is the benchmark used to measure the performance of the Philippine stock market. As such, it is often seen as the barometer of the country’s prosperity. But the stock market is as unpredictable and erratic as the time we are in now. In this work, I am sonifying the uncertainty and volatility of our so-called new normal using the PSEi chart as my graphic score, with the chart symbols representing the stock market data within the lockdown period (March to July) serving as the aural notes. With this, I am putting the stock market in a different light that may, as a result, show the real living and breathing implications of this pandemic beyond the candlesticks, price action, moving averages, trend lines, and volume data that the PSEi chart displays. Additionally, the work is also demonstrating that while the PSEi may illustrate the general state of the Philippines’ business climate, it is still the people, the literal manpower, who move the charts and drive the economy. Ultimately, the work is asking: opening the economy despite the pandemic may mean recovery for certain industries in the stock market, but are Filipino lives actually getting better along with it?
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