Professor Lise Autogena’s new exhibition ‘Black Shoals; Dark Matter – a Stock Market Planetarium’ opens on 03 December 2015 at Somerset House

Black Shoals; Dark Matter - banner image

Black Shoals; Dark Matter is an art work by artists Lise Autogena, Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art at SHU, and Joshua Portway. The planetarium is a real-time representation of the financial markets, driven by huge quantities of live trading data from the world’s stock exchanges. Companies are represented as stars that flicker and glow as shares are traded around the world, the brightness and duration of the glow indicating the volume of the trading activity taking place. The stars slowly drift in response to the complex currents of the market, clustering and dividing into slowly changing nebulae, galaxies and constellations.

In 1973 Fischer Black and Myron Scholes invented the Black-Scholes mathematical formula, which attempts to eliminate the risk involved in options trading and forms the basis for most modern investment theory. The formula became the cornerstone of their investment company Long Term Capital Management. Black Shoals; Dark Matter is an evolving project, started in 1998, the year that Long Term Capital Management collapsed. It was first commissioned for Tate Britain in 2000 and was last developed for Nikolaj Copenhagen Art Centre eleven years ago.

Feeding on the light of the stars is an ecology of artificial life creatures. Starting from first principles, initially unable even to move, they must learn to survive in an environment composed entirely of money. The evolution of the creatures is open-ended and it is unknown how sophisticated they can become.

Black Shoals; Dark Matter has been developed with support from Thomson Reuters, FullDomePro, The Danish Art Foundation, Sheffield Halam University and stock exchanges around the world.

Professor Lise Autogena is an artist and a Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art at the Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University. Find out more about her work here.