One of the highlights of the International Contemporary Art Fair COSMOSCOW 2015, mentioned by almost all its visitors, was an installation dedicated to the price of bitcoin and litecoin.

Among hundreds of artworks from many countries, that were exhibited in the 34 halls of COSMOSCOW 2015 from 11 to 13 September 2015, one, named silk, was dedicated to the cryptocurrencies. The robotic installation, specially commissioned by Laboratoria Art&Science Space, and designed by the artist ::vtol::, tracked the bitcoin and litecoin exchange rate against major fiat currencies in the real time. Every change of bitcoin price not only reflected on a small screen but set the strings in motion producing various sounds.  

According to the Laboratoria Art&Science Space, this installation is the first item in the new platform Art&Finance “which unites artists, financial experts, mathematicians, programmers, who explore together the patterns and dynamics of economical processes, provide semantic interpretation of the global financial reality.” It was created in partnership with the Russian Association of Corporate Treasurers and the Guild of Investment and Financial Analysts.

Most reviewers of the COSMOSCOW 2015 were greatly impressed by the installation but their musical impressions are quite different. While the journalists from Kommersant characterized the melody of the installation as “abstract and calm”, The Art Newspaper said that the robotic installation was “roaring and howling gloomily”, “providing noise effects of the Fair”. According to Drawinger, the cryptocurrency exchange rate produced “a frightening serenade”. The financial news site Finparty compared the “music of the money” to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and concluded: “The sound of the global currency is not very happy nowadays”.

It is not the only case of bitcoin appearing in a contemporary art exposition in Russia. Simultaneously with the COSMOSCOW 2015, a famous bitcoin bot known as the Random Darknet Shopper, created by two Swiss artists, figured at the 3rd Ural industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg, in the Ural mountains.


Alexey Tereshchenko