For Italian born artist Carlo Zanni, code is a paintbrush. He strategically uses it as a tool to construct autonomous systems that direct and continuously output ever-changing cinematic pictorial representations. Zanni refers to his craft as "data cinema", a practice proposing, "a new way to approach filmmaking and narrative forms at large based on the use of live data feedback gathered from the Net, to create time based social consciousness experiences." The ongoing project eBay Landscape is one of Zanni's most well-known works. Using the Western visual tradition as a frame for understanding global economics, Zanni creates a landscape in which forms--for example, bamboo trees in the foreground and the mountains in the background--are generated through an algorithm tied to CNN's front page and stock market charts. As he explains, "while the shape of the mountains changes everyday (when the NASDAQ closes), the content of the bamboo trees changes as many times as CNN updates its website." Zanni's latest project is the website My Temporary Visiting Position From The Sunset Terrace Bar, in which he combines a pre-recorded video of the city strip of Ahlen, Germany with the real time sunset sky of Naples, Italy. Depending on the time of day, the user may view sunsets through a live feed or peruse an archive, updated daily. In pairing two geographical areas into one ever-changing scene, Zanni’s films poetically capture the tension surrounding international borders. The archived films end with a silhouetted flock of birds rapidly diving across the entire frame, a clear symbolic reference to migration. Given the unprecedented degree of movement within our time, Zanni’s data cinema seems an ideal medium in which to present a meditative portrait of the instantaneous horizon before us. - Miguel Amado
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by Dorothy Howard on Jul 22nd, 2015