Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime-ann> Zagreb: How To Do Things With Data
Geert Lovink on Fri, 1 Dec 2006 16:41:01 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime-ann> Zagreb: How To Do Things With Data


How to do things with data
a dataesthetics discussion forum

Nov 30 2006.

7 pm- 10 pm

Cinema Mosor, Zvonimirova 63, Zagreb

Participants: Léonore Bonaccini i Xavier Fourt/ Bureau d’études, Aaron Gach/ Center for Tactical Magic, Miran Mohar i Borut Vogelnik / IRWIN, Trevor Paglen, Naeem Mohaiemen



A group show  {AT}  Gallery Nova
Teslina 7, Zagreb, Croatia
Dec 12 2006-Jan 6 2007

Opening Friday, 1.12.2006, 8 PM

The Atlas Group, Jean - Pierre Aubé, Martha Rosler, Bureau d’études, Mark Lombardi, Center for Tactical Magic, IRWIN, Trevor Paglen, Marko Peljhan/I-TASC, Bálint Szombathy, Mladen Stilinovi, Visible Collective (Mohaiemen, Roy, Huq, Lin, Nimoy, et al)

Curated by: Stephen Wright


Data has become the most pervasive – and intangibly invasive – feature of contemporary life; of life become data. Life systems have been the object of sustained data gathering since the time of the Enlightenment, and cartography, flow charts, graphs and statistica; databases have played a preponderant role in the shift from a society based on discipline to contemporary regimes of biopolitical control, where information is inseparable from the exercise of power. Though it is still commonly held that “the map is not the territory” – that is, that life can neither be confused with nor certainly reduced to its informational content – the vast expansion in data gathering facilitated by digital nano-technologies and integrated networks suggests that a qualitative transformation in governance may become possible through the sheer quantity of available data. Is the dream of total management on the verge of becoming a reality, whereby action on the map is at the same time action on the territory? “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” has become the chorus of real-information ideologues; yet to be an individual is to have something to hide…

Artists have only comparatively recently come to take a sustained interest in the phenomenon of information display, classification, compiling – in short, in what might be referred to as dataesthetics. This exhibition brings together twelve artists and artist collectives who use data as their artistic material. Working with cognitive mapping, discursive form, or envisaging knowledge production and research as a full-fledged artistic practice (rather than a prelude to producing artwork), these artists seek to foreground the heuristic and socially critical potential of data use.

Plainly, such practices have precedents in the conceptual art producers of an earlier generation, sharing with them a broad critique of administered lives, bureaucratised minds and instrumental rationality. Of course, the aesthetics of data is not merely about ordering facts and figures; it is equally about disorganising and subverting the rational arrangement of information and our reliance on databases. Dataesthetics seeks to foreground some of the most cutting-edge practices in the field of research-based art while at the same time anchoring them in an art-historical framework. From this perspective, it can be argued that the data-based practices of many contemporary artists give conceptual art the opportunity to potentially reinvent itself, giving it an unforeseen use value, by injecting artistic competence into collaborative initiatives beyond the confines of the artworld.

Dataesthetics is a three-phrase project, comprising an exhibition, a discussion forum with the artists and the publication of a bilingual reader, featuring critical writings by theorists and artists working in the field of dataesthetics.

Stephen Wright


30.11.2006. 19 h

cinema Mosor, Zvonimirova 63, Zagreb

How to do things with data

a dataesthetics discussion forum

participants: Léonore Bonaccini i Xavier Fourt/ Bureau d’études, Aaron Gach/ Center for Tactical Magic, Miran Mohar i Borut Vogelnik / IRWIN, Trevor Paglen, Naeem Mohaiemen /Visible Collective

moderated by : Stephen Wright

Art production long sought to protect the relatively autonomous sphere it had eked out for itself from any incursion by the potentially deadening logic of knowledge production and data gathering and display. In the face of the sheer glut and facile allure of purpose-driven information and rationality, art’s self-assigned role was to affirm its radical uselessness. Yet as knowledge has become inseparable from power, many practitioners have come to see art and art-related activity as an extradisciplinary and even potentially subversive field of inquiry. Though such practices are often described as content-driven, it is perhaps more accurate to consider them in terms of their discursive form. Critical cartography, tactical magic and database use have become integral components of artistic competence, which refuses to leave social critique to the social sciences. Bringing together Aaron Gach of the Center for Tactical Magic, Naeem Mohaiemen of the Visible Collective, Trevor Paglen, Léonore Bonaccini and Xavier Fourt of Bureau d’études and Stephen Wright, the discussion forum will focus on the performative dimension of data-based research and its display – that is, on how to do things, socially critical things, with dataesthetics.

discussion forum participants

Bureau d’etudes

Bureau d’études is a Paris-based media collective founded in 1998, comprised of the artist-duo Léonore Bonaccini and Xavier Fourt. Using complex graphic tables conceived for the Internet, they map various hidden global structures of finance and world governance, formalising patterns and connections through scientific and informational exactitude. Their work can be viewed online at bureaudetudes.free.fr or http://utangente.free.fr/

Aaron Gach is Visiting Faculty in the Design+Technology department at San Francisco Art Institute. He was inspired by studies with a private investigator, a magician, and a ninja to form the Center for Tactical Magic—an organization dedicated to the amalgamation of art, technology, magic, and activism. Working across disciplines—art, design, architecture, and community service—Gach’s collaborations have involved members of the Black Panthers, Earth First!, and the American Red Cross to name a few. www.tacticalmagic.org


IRWIN was founded in 1983 as the visual-arts component of the Slovenian art collective NSK, based in Ljubljana. Together with many collaborators they started a project East Art Map intended to serve as an orientation tool in the still-undefined field of the art of the East. The aim of the East Art Map is to show the art of the entire space of Eastern Europe, to take artists out of their national frameworks and present them in a unified scheme. www.eastartmap.org

Naeem Mohaiemen is a filmmaker and media artist working in New York and Dhaka. His projects include Visible Collective (disappearedinamerica.org), "The Young Man Was No Longer A Terrorist" (Dictionary of War, Mufathalle), and "Muslims or Heretics: My Camera Can Lie?" (UK House of Lords). Essays include "Islamic Roots of Hip-Hop" (Sound Unbound, MIT Press, DJ Spooky ed.), "Terrorists or Guerillas in the Mist" (Sarai 06, part of Documenta 12 journal project) and "Why Mahmud Can't Be a Pilot") (Nobody Passes, Matt Bernstein ed.). disappearedinamerica.org

Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working out of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines in order to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us. His most recent projects take up secret military bases, the California prison system, and the CIA’s practice of “extraordinary rendition.” www.paglen.com

curator and moderator

Stephen Wright is an art writer and programme director at the Collège international de philosophie (Paris). "Dataesthetics" follows “Rumour as Media” (Aksanat, Istanbul), following “In Absentia” (Passerelle, Brest) and “The Future of the Reciprocal Readymade” (Apexart, NYC), as part of a series of exhibitions examining art practices with low coefficients of artistic visibility, which raise the prospect of art without artworks, authorship or spectatorship.

Dataesthetics is part of the project Zagreb – Cultural Kapital of Europe 3000


_______________________________________________ nettime-ann mailing list nettime-ann {AT} nettime.org http://www.nettime.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/nettime-ann