International is a video and sculpture installation that aligns two historical figures in conversation for the first time, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992) and American builder and philanthropist George R. Brown of Brown & Root (1898–1983).
Sampling oral history recordings captured between 1968 and 1978 of Brown and Hayek (they never met), the animation folds together a conversation that identifies their perspectives on how the ideal economic and social order for a nation should evolve. From a contemporary perspective, the conversation also reveals how it is possible for the mind to simultaneously hold incompatible ideas and how individuals like Hayek and Brown use logic to reconcile public theories and actions with more personal motivations.
The animation presents cycles of photographs staged in locations pivotal in the lives of Hayek and Brown. These include images of the Hôtel du Parc in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland (the location of the initial Mont Pelerin Society meeting in 1947 where economists, philosophers, and historians met to discuss the fate of classical liberalism and in their view, the crisis of socialism) and a triangular plot at the confluence of the Green Bayou and Houston Ship Channel in Texas purchased by the Browns in 1941 to complete a series of federal contracts to build ships for WWII. Intercut with these landscapes are animated images of old logging roads along the coast of Oregon composited with an animated 3D scan of the truck.
Interwoven with Hayek’s and Brown’s voice is a musical score composed by Mosley of single notes played on a 1938 Haines Brothers piano, matched to the piano owned by Brown’s family during this transitional period of growth in their business.