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75000 Futures – The algorithmic failures and impossible futures

Created by Gunnar Green and Bernhard Hopfengärtner,  ‘75000 Futures’ assembles 240 stock charts which were produced by the 2010 flash crash and collected and named by a company that streams and stores realtime market data.

The flash crash supposedly is the first stock market crash caused by algorithmic trading (High Frequency Trading). Today, a lot of trades on the markets is performed by algorithms and over the years even city infrastructures have been changed to accommodate the fast paced trades executed by these invisible machines. In their process, they try to correlate correlate all sorts of data to figure out what to buy and what to sell. Doing so, they evolve and become increasingly independent from their original programming.

We look at the graphs and don’t understand them. We find them beautiful. We sense that with every movement of the line, millions of dollars are exchanged through the electronic hands of trading algorithms. What they show will trigger more events. But we cannot know how they will occur, what or whom they will befall, where or when they will take place. Tempted by their beauty, we try to reinforce their effects. We strip off all information that point to their original context, such as time lines and graph keys. What is left are abstract images that do not represent anything but their colouring, expanse and limitations. On several hundred double page spreads, the image on the right and the title on the left, a collection of modified graphs of past trading events and phenomena is composed. Identification or classification are not important here: The collection only serves viewership purposes.

‘75000 Futures’ is a collection of visualisations of what these algorithms produced when they stopped working properly: a series of trading choices printed as graphs that don’t seem to make any sense, economically. The company collected and named them and by doing so turned them into images. Gunnar and Bernhard took the graphs and got rid of the financial context and printed them on several hundred double page spreads. The video below is a signification of the small selection of these.

We observe the graphics again. Now, they speak differently to us. We don’t see activies and functions in the abstract images and structures anymore; rather landscapes, tools, journeys into outer space, and sunsets. 75000 futures.

Project Page | TheGreenEyl

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