Finance Data Never Looked So “Sweet”

July 18, 2014 | Marina Galperina

“The idea to use the stock market came to me in dreams,” says Claudia Maté. On view now at Brooklyn’s Transfer gallery, the Spanish artist’s first solo show “Sweet Finances!” turns the sterile and often merciless world of finance into data-infused and data-operative objects, installations and videos.

“I think data can be beautiful by itself, even if it’s random. That’s why I’ve been working on creating beautiful landscapes from numerical information,” Maté recalls. “In some companies, you could clearly notice the crash of 2009.”

Maté’s piece Global Mood (pictured above) was developed in collaboration with the artist’s friend, programer miggu. It’s part stock watch, part fantasy football, part minimalist RPG.

“It represents real-time data of all companies on the stock exchange as a sporty executive team,” Maté says. “Each man represents one company. Their moods change depending on the price going up or down. The user can create their own teams and share them.”

Moods “changing” is a poetic exaggeration. The suits’ faces twitch, they eyebrows frown, the grins bare some teeth. Otherwise, these artist-designed company mascots stay still, professionally enduring the financial fluctuations while hungrily looking out from the screen with red and green-glowing eyes. The piece is strangely soothing. Maté’s avatar stylizations lend a vibrant kind of dark and blunt humor in visualizing the powers that control our world.

Later this month, Maté will be releasing two web-based applications via DIS Magazine, specifically designed for the exhibition. The Sky Market app, written in javascript and HTML5, will source historical data and real-time quotes, tapping into Yahoo Finance API to render the data as an image in <canvas>.

“Traders and collectors can choose a company, range of dates, color, background, or gradient in order to create unique images — then select to purchase the parameters as a printed artwork produced by the artist,” Transfer gallery explains. The final high quality print on aluminum up to 42 inches wide, will be created by the artist and arrive to the client’s home within two weeks.

The prints on view are so sweet, you forget you’re looking at “Government Proper (GOV ) 24.85 +0.09 +0.36% NYSE” or “Nike, Inc. Common (NKE ) 77.29 -0.21 -0.27%.”

Behind the pyramid of squeezable foam shrimp, there’s a replica of the Bloomberg terminal. Open Ceremony points out that the actual terminal is available via Bloomberg L.P. for a yearly subscription of $24,000. “They are exactly the same,” the artist says, “but my terminal has been created in order to give something beautiful to the user, instead of guiding him in investments.”

Earlier this year, we celebrated the second birthday of Claudia Maté and Carlos Saez‘s infinitely collaborative, online exquisite corpse project Cloaque, exhibited as a physical installation at the UNTITLED art fair in 2013. The “Sweet Finances!” closing reception event curated by the artist will feature an international group of artists who were invited to GIFs on the subject of finance. “Sweet Finances,” Claudia Maté, Jul 12 – Aug 2, TRANSFER Gallery, Brooklyn. Gallery hours are Saturdays 2pm-7pm and by appointment. (Photos: Diana Kunst)