Marsèlleria Permanent Exhibition

flying false colors

carlo zanni
2 . 23 december 2009

Opening 1 December 2009, H.06 pm


Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day) is a multi-platform project that unravels, and makes visible, the connections among oil consumption, politics and ecological issues of the 30 countries scrutinized by the Joint Oil Data Initiative. It is an institution founded in 2001 and whose aim is to record the oil demand's monthly rates of the world's major black gold consumers.

In the silence of Marsèlleria Permanent Exhibition the swish of a flag, connected to a computer and an air compressor, is the unsettling visual and sound transposition of the continuous impoverishment of the world's oil reserves. The wind that moves it is set to blow with specific intensity and direction, and for a period of time connected to the number of oil drums required by a given country and its capital's weather. When, for example, the flag waves in south direction for 14 seconds, it may show Italy's oil demand and weather, whereas when it waves in north-east direction for 72 seconds it may display China's.

Flying False Colors (The Sixth Day) is freely inspired by I Tre Giorni Del Condor (1975). Directed by Sydney Pollack, it is one of the first spy movies to suggest a connection between United States' secret military actions and the control of oil production in the Middle East.
The flag design comes directly from the Ecology Flag created in 1969. During the exhibition the flag will gradually change its color, a "flying false colors" exemplification, the act of showing a fake flag to deceive the enemy.

Straight from Performa09 in Milan is The Fifth Day project (2009): Zanni programmed an algorithm to connect color pictures taken by him during a taxi ride in Alessandria with data that the artist found on the diffusion of literacy and corruption in Egypt together with other civic well being calculators, so that to create a "portrait" of the Middle East based on both objective and subjective data. The project is available online as a sequence of pictures where the invisible data transform the images themselves.