A networked, real-time 3D cityscape that is generated from and evolves with the global financial markets.
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 Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) 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.
Drew Baker [ VRML programming ] . David Steele [ Java programming ]
Nathalie Hénon & Jean-François Rettig [ curation ] . Hugh Denard [ discourse ]
Data_Plex (economy) v1.0 was created in 2009 with generous support from King's Visualisation Lab, Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London. Version 1.3 was produced in 2014 for the Living Data solo touring exhibition.
[ gallery ] High-specification Windows 7/8/10 computer system capable of real-time high definition 3D rendering (VRML); multi/single-channel high definition video system; 5.1/2.1 audio system; and HCI device for user interaction.
[ online ] Windows 7/8/10 computer system with Firefox or Internet Explorer; the Cortona3D Viewer plugin; and stereo audio. A high-specification CPU/GPU, colour display with ≥1024x768 resolution and high-speed Internet connection are recommended.
* The Cortona3D Viewer is not available for OS X and Linux. On these systems FreeWRL can be used to render most aspects of the work.
* In April 2015 Google deprecated support for NPAPI plug-ins (including Cortona3D Viewer). As such, VRML works can no longer be viewed using Chrome.