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Money

Yes, Even The Financial Market Can Be Beautiful

Claudia Maté's exhibition, "Sweet Finances!" turns the cold worlds of financial markets into beautiful New Media art.

by Benoit Palop
Jul 18 2014, 4:45pm

Photos by Diana Kunst

Last weekend, Brooklyn's TRANSFER gallery opened its space to the London-based, Spanish New Media artist Claudia Maté's new exhibition, Sweet Finances! The solo show, the artist's first, tackles the rigid worlds of global financial markets with humor and irony, presenting a stunning series of installations, sculptures and web-based applications that explore and reinterpret this seemingly soul-less universe.

Preserving her powerful visual aesthetic by taking advantage of her expertise in digital practices, Maté questions the delicate tensions between art and money in innovative and unexpected new ways, offering impressive digital landscapes that sublimate the rise and fall of financial markets, the monotony of number series, and real-time data collected via Yahoo! Finances API.

Mate's app, global mood, transcribes the state of mind of many “real” London market leaders by using a 3D-render series that evolves according to market fluctuations. The main installation is served by the dynamic of a historic data stream, a Bloomberg terminal, customized for the arts, that allows for the production of unique and generative images by playing with various elements including companies selected, dates, and background colors and gradient. Maté plans on printing and selling these works through a web-app which will be made available soon. 

Her physical creations of these intangible, virtual elements, combined with the tenacity and depth of her work and research, caught the attention of the team's gallery. “I was drawn to the ways in which Claudia's strong code-based practice operates in new and quite interesting spaces in relation to the browser. From the scrolling curatorial platform of Cloaque.org, to her data abstractions with user input like 'DIV-A Machine,' and her loading project on clickgallery.us,” Kelani Nichole, co-director of TRANSFER, told The Creators Project. “Maté's work defines compelling new modes of distribution at the intersection of contemporary art, commerce, and technology,” she said. 

To learn more about the reasons that have brought her to play with this universe, but also about her creative process, The Creators Project conducted an interview with Claudia Maté:

The Creators Project: How did Kelani first get in touch with you, and how did you end up collaborating on Sweet Finances!?

Claudia Maté: Kelani contacted me about one year ago, after I published an interactive piece I did for Domain Gallery, an abstract art generator, but in a different way. She wrote asking about doing something at TRANSFER gallery, and I really liked the idea.

How did finance become the focus of the show, and how did you approach it? Did you choose it for its political-social-economic facets, or simply because you wanted to play around with data?

In the past, I've been working on doing abstract art from random data, but this time I really wanted to use real data because it was more fun and interesting. The idea to use the stock markets as a data source came to me in my dreams— they play an important role today, they are a key part of the global crisis we are experiencing, and to get something beautiful from all this cold and tricky world turned the project into something exciting.

Is there a message that you would like to convey by tacking the world of finance with humor and irony?

I want to keep the project open to different kinds of interpretations, so I prefer not to give any personal message.

Finally, how do the applications work, and what techniques and tools did you use? Could you also give us more details on the process it takes you to generate a print?

This is a web application written in JavaScript and HTML5: the app gets all its data through the Yahoo Finance API, and then all this data in rendered as an image In . The user is allowed to choose some different parameters in order to create a unique and customized image of any company listed on the Stock Exchange, after which they can choose a size up to 42 inches and buy the artwork. This requires an extra step for me: after receive each order, I need to get a high-quality version to print. The client receives a print on aluminum in their home within two weeks.

The final image is defined by several parameters that we get from the URL such as the stock symbol, periods of time, customized colors, gradient, and backgrounds. Yahoo! Finance provide us with the open, close, high, low, volume, and adj. close values, and all this data is represented on the image as a landscape. But this image is not bigger than a screenshot— to get the high-quality version requires a different treatment, so I did a parallel local app that can get the prints...

If you're around Brooklyn through August 2, check out the colorful beauty of cold financial data at the TRANSFER gallery.  

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Tagged:
finance
Creators
new media
Installations
Claudia Maté
data art
Transfer Gallery
solo exhibition
Sweet Finances!
Yahoo! Finances