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Saturday, 9 Feb 2008

Nancy Patterson – Stock Market Skirt

Nancy Patterson - Stock Market Skirt

A blue taffeta and black velvet party dress is displayed on a dressmaker’s mannequin or ‘Judy,’ located next to a computer and several monitors of varying sizes. In large type, the stock ticker symbol and price which is being tracked, marches from right to left across the monitor screens as the stock price is continuously updated. Large white numbers and letters on a blue background (matching the blue of the taffeta skirt) scroll in simulation of the pixel board displays used to track stock values on traditional exchange room floor.

PERL scripts (running under Linux) extract and analyze stock prices from online stock market quote pages on the internet. These values are sent to a program which determines whether to raise or lower the hemline via a stepper motor and a system of cables, weights and pulleys attached to the underside of the skirt. When the stock price rises, the hemline is raised; when the stock price falls, the hemline is lowered.

This mediawork also utilizes a webcam to capture and display real-time images of the hemline as it fluctuates. A website simultaneously displays these images as well as the stock market quotes which are controlling the length of the hemline. This site is made available in conjunction with the exhibition of this installation.

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