Data materialism in art making
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Data materialism in art making

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Slides from my presentation at "The Electronic Super Highway" Tate Liverpool

Slides from my presentation at "The Electronic Super Highway" Tate Liverpool

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  • Hi all, culture lab, phdThis presentation is intended to address some of the problems, motivations and practical directions in the adoption of data as a material in itself in the process of making art work.
  • Art has always been a way of combining curiosity and building. Practical motivations – carvers wood
  • motivation for this topic comes from an interest in data visualisation - the process of making engaging, sometimes interactive, usually graphic interpretations of data sets.
  • Popularity of data vis increasing due in part to increasing accessibility of data from official sources
  • People are also increasingly going out and getting their own dataI like the jcb metaphor - building
  • Increasing access to programming languages to non specialists encourages heterodox application
  • this presentation is intended to examine some historical, contemporary and creative imperatives for using data, to ask some, hopefully ontological questions about what we mean by data, and to suggest some directions which can be or are already being explored
  • The developmental influence of arts/culture on the shaping of technological societyvideo synthesis represented an effort to engage with the material and social posibilites of broadcast television simultaneouslyA lot of the history of art and technology is necessarily bound up with technological “progress” or change – there is an inherent assumption that is going to have an emancipatory or relevatory quality
  • In other words I’m pretty sceptical about art as an emancipatory forcethe once anarchic structures epitomised by usenet where non-centrality supported a user dominated forum have been subverted by centralisation/institutionalisation with only formal aspects (eg threads ) surviving. However pockets of dominance derived from artistic practice do survive in parallel too and occasional conflict with such currents. Its in these pockets that data driven art can practice and thrive. Burnham’s assessment is consistant with the lessons of post-modernism - there is no grand narrative of art and technology
  • Again there is space for artists to fill the smalllacunary territories.My own feeling is that , mainstream media have not learned the lessons of McLuhan’s vision and that’s exactly why and where art still exists – in the places left behind! It’s a place where the medium and the message can co-exist. – I would argue that the occupation of these territories is socio-politically significant in that it’s a kind of squatting of cultural space
  • I can’t imagine anything worse…. That’s all. If art doesn’t chase its own tail into a self-referential game it must absolutlely avoid this. But if art is going to be without seminal social influence whats the point of social engagement? Well small communities for one, we all exercise our own agency within a limited sphere of operations/territory – why would we expect this to be different with art? The question is within this sphere, while acknowledging limitis of influence how can we make art DO something.
  • I was interested in the MTV generation description in the call for suggested topics -it’s so long since I heard the term - I assume there is a similar one for the generation of wifi and social media. I am a non MTV generationer generation - I don’t know if anyone else had the experience of exclusion from their own media past.BasicallyIm saying that my mum never bought me an atari– and as such my childhood/ background was fairly unmediated by convenient technological containers for material investigations
  • What I mean by that is that often, for me, the most interesting use of data as a consideration of material comes from particular spaces in technological history that support that kind of investigation (These are the places left behind) – play sample
  • Chip tunes musicians have a personal and cultural imperative for making their music which is necessarily bound up in the understanding and maniplulation of data bits! theres no shaming it here - its 8-bit or its out. So the question becomes though material, kind of abstract, how can you carry out a material investigation into something as nebulous as data without the convenient and lets face it kind of cool back up of something like chip tunes music. And that brings me to ontology
  • The problem with talking about data: where is it? Patterns of transition – like morse – holding patterns? Or is something that only really exists as data in the iterpretation of a pattern or protocol? When demoscene musicians contrstainthemeselves to 8-bit they are adopting the bit depth and file size of a particular period of musical and electronic culture.
  • The Being of humans (dasein) IS in temporal (kairological) and spatial circumstances and similarly we can consider the BEING of data not as a seperation between its form time and content but actually as embodying or being those things making it a “how” being not a “what” being.
  • 3 fold temporality We encounter objects as a mixture of their past (what they are or were already) and the future that we interpret for them. Together this mix constructs our present. Data therefore is no different from any material since its usefulness as a tool is a mixture of how we find and what we do with it.
  • My particular interest is working with data which overt politcial significance – statistics, texts etcThis last section is intended to suggest some possible avenues for approaching data use as material
  • Earlier I mentioned the distinction of scraped and gathered data – this is significant in an number of ways:heterodox/orthodox narratives /truth claims – a : journalistic question, temporality – scraped data can be an ongoing process which causes generational changes in art work. Scraping involves a far more hands on (even manual) assault on the web.
  • Explain this thing
  • Earlier I mentioned the distinction of scraped and gathered data – this is significant in an number of ways:heterodox/orthodox narratives /truth claims – a : journalistic question, temporality – scraped data can be an ongoing process which causes generational changes in art work. Scraping involves a far more hands on (even manual) assault on the web. Similarly material destruction or auto destruction has art historical precedent, I suggest although there is a lot of fantastic (Casey Reas Process compendium, and sometimes not so fantastic generative art the possibilities of destruction are undermined – work that subverts or corrupts source data are under-exploited Metzger Joseph NechvatalTHESE NOTES REPEATED ON NEXT SLIDE
  • Destruction of source code
  • Wit this presentation I have aimed to present some imperatives for considering data as an urgent and immanent and also politicised materialI hope that you will forgive the many omissions and generalisations I’ve made and that it the few suggestions were positive
  • Wit this presentation I have aimed to present some imperatives for considering data as an urgent and immanent and also politicised materialI hope that you will forgive the many omissions and generalisations I’ve made and that it the few suggestions were positive

Data materialism in art making Data materialism in art making Presentation Transcript

  • data materialism in art making
    tom schofield
  • //0: background
  • EstúdioElástico
    http://dmtr.org/lunarcalendar/
  • data.gov.uk
    data.gov
  • http://data.gov.uk/dataset/grants-for-the-arts-awards-arts-council-england
  • Scraper: a computer program that transforms information from webpages into a data
    ScraperWiki: a website where anyone can write and repair public web scrapers and discover uses for the data
    http://scraperwiki.com/
  • processing.org
    openframeworks.cc
  • Historical
    Cultural
    Creative
    Ontological
    ?
  • //1: motivations
    //a: historical
  • //culture and material
  • “To be sure, sociologists and several conceptual artists such as Victor Burgin and Hans Haacke have shown that pervasive philanthropy and museum­ controlled ” taste ­making” do exert long term political control over the artistic tastes of the public. But given the costs and popular failure of technological art, it would appear an enormously inefficient means of swaying the masses, much less a means of promoting Technocracy as a successor to Capitalism.” 
    Burnham J, Art and Technology: The Panacea That Failed, from The Myths of Information(p211), Woodward K (ed), Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, London, 1980
  • “Cyberspace was supposed to bring us all together in a Global Village; however, what effectively happens is that we are bombarded with the multitude of messages belonging to inconsistent and incompatible universes — instead of the Global Village, the big Other, we get the multitude of "small others," of tribal particular identifications at our choice. “
    SlavojZizek
    http://www.egs.edu/faculty/slavoj-zizek/articles/the-matrix-or-two-sides-of-perversion/
  • “The artist is not responsible to anyone. His social role is asocial; his only responsibility consists in an attitude to the work he does. There is no communication with any public whatsoever. The artist can ask no question, and he makes no statement; he offers no information, and his work cannot be used. It is the end product which counts, in my case, the picture.”
    George Baselitz
  • //1: motivations
    //a: personal
  • //no access to MTV generation
    //no media history
  • //(sub)cultural backgrounds to material investigation
    chiptunes and demoscene
  • //Syphus – data airlines – the knife: Heartbeats
  • //2: ontology
    // the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology
  • //patterns and pulses
    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/kensBinaryCalendar.jpg
  • //factical* data
    *Heidegger, Being and Time
  • //temporal data – mixes with us
  • //3: approaches
    • fostering a deeper understanding of the technological processes involved in data gathering, mining and dissemination
    • creating art works which are themselves creators or destroyers of data
  • //mining, gathering, dissemination
  • //sticking point
    http://www.tomschofieldart.com/tomschofieldart/sticking_point.html
  • //creating, destroying
    http://vimeo.com/user2337645
    Roman Gerold after Jean Tinguely
  • Jean Tinguely,
  • Burjbabil, Guy and Tom Schofield 2011
  • //in short
  • //thanks
    //tomschofieldart.com