The Data_plex series of artworks utilise live data feeds from real-life scenarios to generate three-dimensional geometry and textures in real-time, creating virtual realms that refract ever-changing, volatile forces in and upon the real world. Data_plex (economy) reflects upon the unpredictability of the global market and the capitalist institutions of which it is comprised. The artwork is created from a single live market feed of the most-cited international stock market index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), compiled from the share prices of thirty of the largest and most widely-owned public companies in the USA. A Java and VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) framework translates this stream of fluctuating information into a metaphorical cityscape based on modernist aesthetics of skyscrapers and urban grids. Each company is represented in the virtual environment by a series of cubic greyscale forms that are proportioned according to factors such as its stock price, market capitalisation and percentage of the DJI index. Current positions shift alongside ghosted structures of the recent past – dissolving traces from the previous four days of trading. Manifestations of historical highs (blue), lows (red) and volumes (green) express the fortunes of the market in colour, while each corporation’s representation is textured by a unique image that has been generated by its stock data. The virtual world ebbs and flows with erratic pace as vast volumes of capital are shifted during the trading day, while after hours, the realm sleeps in anticipation of the opening bell.
Michael Takeo Magruder is an American artist based in the UK working with New and Technological Media within Contemporary Arts practice. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1996 receiving a BA (Hons) in Biological Science. He is a long-standing member of King’s Visualisation Lab in the Centre for Computing in Humanities, King’s College London. Through this organisation he undertakes research, development and implementation of emerging technologies; including motion capture, immersive space and virtual environments, for use in contemporary creative and academic practice. His artworks have been showcased in over 180 exhibitions and 30 countries, including venues such as the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, EAST International 2005, Georges Pompidou Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau. His works are regular inclusions in international New Media festivals, such as Cybersonica, CYNETart, FILE, Filmwinter, SeNef, Siggraph, Split, VAD and WRO. His artistic practice has been funded directly by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England, The National Endowment for the Arts, USA and numerous public galleries both within the UK and abroad. He is also recognised for his on-line arts practice and has been commissioned by leading portals for Internet Art such as Turbulence.org and Soundtoys.net. His work blends Information Age technologies with modernist-like aesthetics to explore the formal structures and conceptual paradigms of the networked, digital world.