Website is an online installation by German philosopher Simon Freund. The amount displayed is a reflection of Freund’s financial situation at any given time.

The landing page of the online art installation by conceptual artist Simon Freund

What is in essence a simple website with only 3 pages and a few lines of code, became a rather large undertaking on the server side of things.

The balance consists of a value that is entered manually (straightforward), another that is fetched from the Stripe API (also a breeze) and a number that is taken from the artist’s bank account via the bank’s API.

This is where things got interesting. The bank requires a 5-step authentication process, including the entering of a tan number, just to get access to the account balance. Once you are in, you need to renew your access token every 20 minutes.

We decided to handle the server side logic with node.js and on the client side we provide access to a read-only database via Javascript that keeps track of the current account balances.

To round things off, we also created a little function that saves the current balance once a day in a separate database so we can nicely keep track of the history of the project.

The code for this project is open source and can been seen on GitHub.