On March 23, 2012 at 11:14:18.436 BATS released a sell algorithm listing it’s own stocks. BATS (Better Alternative Trading System) was founded in 2005 by Dave Cummings, a scalper and pit trader from NASDAQ. Five years later BATS was one of the largest stock exchanges and accounted for almost 10% of all trading. The Exchange, throughout it’s history has made several attempts to create an IPO or Initial Public Offering which is designed to list the best offered price of a given stock to the public. March 23, 2012 was an early attempt at this, and represents the tenuous nature of the stock data used in this video. The stock’s initial price at 11:14:18.436 was $15.25 and plummeted to $0.0002 in 1.25 seconds, subsequently halting trading due to the dramatic loss off value.
This video BATS_2012-03-23 uses this 1.25s of data to present a hand-drawn representation of the minuscule effects of algorithm-based trading on stocks by extending the timeframe to a six-minute video. This allows a more human reading of the fluctuations in buy/sell algorithms that can have profound impacts on our lives.
The process of transferring the stock data into a video began as as program written by the artist to simulate the effect of price, value and time on an object of data represented by an outline drawing of a crumpled American dollar bill. Each second of movement in the video represents three milliseconds of the original data. The crumpled bill moves down the vertical axis and right along the horizontal axis, and compresses or expands – all representing price, time, and value of the stock. High Frequency Traders and other buy/sell interests influence the shape and size of the object, including the EURion constellation’s pattern – an critical signifier for preventing counterfeiting.
– BATS-2012-03-23 was shown in Toronto at Pierre François Ouellette art contemporain as part of the Allegory Algorithm exhibition.