Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day)

Carlo Zanni’s pieces are "data cinema": he uses live, Internet data to create time-based, social consciousness experiences with games, photos, films and installations that investigate topical issues. This multimedia project loosely refers to the 1975 espionage film "Three Days of the Condor," directed by Sydney Pollack, which was one of the first films to suggest a link between covert, U.S. military operations and control of oil production in the Middle East. Like many of Zanni's past projects, "Flying False Colors" relies on fluctuations of live, digital information to affect his artwork. In this piece, a wind-generating base blows on a flag at particular speeds and directions based on the number of oil barrels requested by a country and the current weather in that country’s capital. The flag is a version of the universal Ecology Flag, which was designed in 1969 and depicts the Greek letter Theta—formerly an abbreviation for "death." The pigment in the flag flakes off over time, so it eventually becomes pure white. Los Angeles-based writer Lyra Kilston writes, "At work in this project is a strategy Zanni frequently invokes: the pairing of ‘mere’ numbers to their real life implications. This juxtaposition underscores the tension between a distanced and abstemious mathematics on one hand, and the messy, human reality it strains to enumerate." Click on the image to advance to the next one. Point the mouse at the bottom of the image to see additional controls.

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Video Documentation: 1 2 Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day) - 2009 Customized Hardware and Software, real time Internet data. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist and Collection Angela and Massimo Lauro, Il Giardino Dei Lauri - Images 1-5: Installation views and details from Chelsea Art Museum's project room, New York, Oct 2009 Photos by Fedele Spadafora. Images 6-10: Installation view at MarsellËria, Milan Photos by Mirko Rizzi

Contributor’s biography

Carlo Zanni’s work has been shown internationally in galleries and museums including: MACRO Museum, Rome (2010); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009); Galleria Lorcan O'Neill, Rome (2009); MAXXI Museum, Rome (2007, 2006); New Museum, New York (2005); Gavin Brown's Enterprise at Passerby, New York (2005); Chelsea Art Museum, New York (2009, 2004) and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2001). He participated in the last edition of PERFORMA 09, a new performance art biennial held in New York in the fall of 2009. The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London held his first retrospective in October 2005 and published the book "Vitalogy." In October 2006, "8-bit," a documentary by artist and director Marcin Ramocki and featuring an interview with Carlo Zanni, premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His latest piece is "Iterating My Way Into Oblivion" (2010-11). Visit his website at to learn more.