Art Now is a programme of exhibitions that aims to generate discussion and promote awareness of new art in Britain. It also highlights new technologies, and Art and Money Online, sponsored by Reuters, presents three installations by artists whose work refers to and makes use of the Internet. These works will examine in different ways the current and rapid commercialisation of the Internet, and the growing culture of e-commerce. Most Internet art is difficult to accommodate within a gallery show, as it requires interaction with a single viewer, and is suited to display only on a small scale. Increasingly, however, artists are using the Internet in new ways and to highlight this development, and to bring Internet art to a wider audience, Art and Money Online shows work that is immediately accessible to visitors who previously may have been put off by the computer interface. The artists featured are: Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway (www.blackshoals.net) who have created a new work, titled Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium, that uses the Internet to access and utilise live stock market data. Companies trading on the world’s stock exchanges will be represented as constellations of stars in the night sky, drifting and flickering in response to the fluctuations in the financial markets. An ecology of artificial-life creatures will live within this financial universe, and feed from the trading activity of the stars. The creatures will evolve and will attempt to navigate and predict the turbulent trading patterns of the markets. Redundant Technology Initiative (www.lowtech.org) whose installation, Networked Lowtech Video Wall, recycles discarded, outmoded computers and brings them back to life. The computers will be stacked up across a wall of the gallery, and networked to a search engine that will scan the Net for the word ‘free’ - the second most common word searched for on the Internet (the most common being ‘sex’). Results of the search will be displayed as a stream of words slowly and continually moving across the screens. These words are made up of lots of smaller figures and numbers and the overall effect will be a stunning display of retro computer graphics. Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead (www.thomson-craighead.net) whose installation is entitled CNN Interactive just got more interactive. This involves the intervention by the artists into the existing CNN news site, whereby the viewer is able to select their own ‘audio mood’ music in relation to the news item they are accessing. Moods to select from include ‘jubilant’, ‘melancholy’ and ‘dramatic’, leading to surreal and often hilarious juxtapositions. Instead of using standard on-screen architecture such as the Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers, the interface has been specifically designed by the artists for use in the gallery and parodies the touch screen multi-media stations used by corporate media companies. The exhibition is curated by Julian Stallabrass, Lecturer in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art and former Paul Mellon Centre Fellow at Tate Britain, who will publish a book on Internet art through Tate Publishing later in 2001. The Art Now programme is supported by Patrons of New Art. For further information please contact Ben Luke/Liz Workman Tate Press Office, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG Call 020 7887 8730/31/32 Fax 020 7887 8729 Visit www.tate.org.uk
Exhibition Text at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center
Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium by Lise Autogena og Joshua Portway Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium is a computer generated night sky that is also a live representation of the worlds stock markets. The planetarium is driven by huge quantities of live trading data from the worlds markets, delivered by Reuters to the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, which is situated next door to Nikolaj Contemporary Art Gallery. A red cable has drawn from the Stock Exchange across the street, supplies the planetarium with live instant trading data from the whole world. The planetarium displays listed companies as stars that drift across the sky in response to the complex currents of the market.. Whenever a stock is traded somewhere in the world, the corresponding star in the dome immediately glows brighter. A trade of a minimum of $700.000 will produce light in the planetarium - the brightness and duration of the glow indicating the volume of trading activity taking place. The stars in the planetarium slowly move across the sky in response to the currents of the markets - clustering and dividing according to the relationships between the companies they represent, while outlining the shapes of different industries and the huge multinational conglomerates like the signs of the zodiac. In this way, any general movement in a section of the market will have a visible effect on the sky – a Parmalat scandal, or the recent collapse of Enron, for instance, would have caused all the companies affected to glow very brightly and to be pulled towards each other into a very powerful vortex. Artificial Life Feeding on the trading activity of the stars is an ecology of artificial life creatures that live and evolve within this financial universe. The creatures, (designed by Alife researcher Cefn Hoile) feed on the light of the stars, generated by the stock trading, and vary in numbers depending on their survival strategies and current level of trading activity. Starting from first principles, unable even to move, they learn to survive and cope within the rather strange environment into which they have been born. The evolution of the creatures is endless and it is unknown how sophisticated they can become Black Shoals The name “Black Shoals” (a “Shoal” is a large group of fish swimming together) refers to the “Black Scholes” formula, a mathematical formula invented in the seventies by three young mathematicians. The formula attempts to accurately estimate the current value of a share option, and thereby reduce the risk of investing. Based on the formula, a company called "Long Term Capital Management" was set up, which was spectacularly successful. Other investors would therefore copy their investments, which led to a kind of "feedback effect" often seen in biological systems. This kind of effect is often the precursor to chaos in complexity theory, and the company had to ride closer and closer to this edge of chaotic collapse. When everything finally did collapse, it almost brought the entire American economy down with it - a kind of Icarus parable for those attempting to control complex systems. 1998 - the time around the dot.com period, the socalled the New Economy and the year of the "Long Term Capital Management" collapse – was also the year when Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway started developing the Black Shoals Stock Market Planetarium. The project took many years to develop, with support from researchers and specialists in finance, biology and artificial life from around the world. The project was first exhibited at Tate Britain in London in 2001.