Q&A | Dataflags by Fabio Lattanzi Antinori

Hi Fabio. So firstly, why did you focus on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy as a concept for the piece? 

Dataflags is a series of works I am creating that deal with the notion of failing; they represent fragile corporate flags that celebrate the ups and downs of those corporations that were thought to be invincible but went bankrupt. Lehman Brothers, in this context, made up for a very good candidate, yet there are others which will be explored in the next artworks.

Madge announces a different set of numbers each time the sensors are touched. How did you program the board to do this?

All voices were prerecorded as different parts then the code reassembles each sample in real time depending on the set of numbers that correspond to the daily history of the share prices of the company. The Touch Board, which is the heart of the artwork, simply waits for someone to interact, just like many artworks which demand an interaction between the participating audience and the work itself. One could say that there would be no work at all without the intervention of the public, which is a continuation of the metaphorical aspect of the piece.

You chose to print on Somerset paper. Why did you chose this material over Tyvek for example?

I wanted this piece to be as simple as possible. Paper, despite being the result of a long and complex process of both traditional and contemporary manufacturing, still preserves a sense of heritage to which we all relate to. It has been a part of our culture for a such a long time.

It was the perfect material to represent a flag, it looks solid and eternal and yet it is fragile and ephemeral, especially when it is meant to be touched by hundreds of people, like it was during the show.

Make sure you check out Fabio’s website for more information on his work and upcoming shows.