ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012

ADM VIII, 2011

On May 6, 2010, around 2:40 p.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average index fell about 900 points in less than twenty minutes. The loss was estimated at one trillion dollars. Following this event, all transactions made that day between 2:40 and 3 p.m. were canceled in joint agreement. This instantaneous stock market crash, which is now referred to as the “Flash Crash,” was caused by miscalculations carried out by high-frequency trading robots operating on the markets. Despite its virtuality, this crash sheds light upon the actual architecture of finance; its particular temporality and scale that reaches far beyond human physical abilities and perceptions, where robots trigger thousands of orders each second and flood the market with millions of fake information to hide their true investments, a process which is called “quote stuffing.”

Engaging finance in its most recent and complex developments, RYBN.ORG has undertaken the construction of its own trading bot, designed to invest and speculate on the financial markets. Using an online broker service to directly access the markets, this autonomous program can trigger orders as well as buy and sell stocks. Its decisions are taken with the help of an internal algorithmic intelligence system, and can be influenced by a wide range of external, arbitrary parameters. The whole decision system allows the program to foresee the next moves in the markets, while it tries to identify and anticipate the relevant and effective patterns within the financial chaotic oscillations. The robot’s activity along with its computations and performances is monitored, recorded, and visualized within a dynamic cartography. A panopticon of information unfolds that is formally similar to the control rooms of the stock exchanges’ back offices.

ADM VIII was realized with the support of DICRéAM / French Ministry of Culture and Communication, CNC, CNL


, 2011