Thursday, February 18, 2010

Follow Up To The Data Art Discussion

Some good questions and comments were made both in class and on your blogs in reaction to Manovich's critique of data art. I wanted to post a response by a California-based artist named Brett Stalbaum, who takes on Manovich's prioritization of the visual in his discussion of data and the potential for art to intervene in and use data streams. Particularly, he wants to see a broader discussion that isn't limited to the presentation of data on screens. Stalbaum writes:
...is being immersed in data exclusively a matter related to visual (or textual) cul ture, as typified by the types of screen-based (or scree-mediated) projects that Manovich is examining, or are there are other societal modes of interaction with data which are ripe for exploration by artists? Are we also immersed in data when Wal-Mart, the organization with the most powerful database and computing systems in the world, monopolistically cuts its prices based on database-driven analysis enabled by their massive intelligence corporate/retail spy network? Or when the carrot juice we purchase from a cooler at a local market is fresh? Or when our credit report and other background checks determine the outcome of financial transaction such as a home purchase? Or when a package arrives at your house on time? Or the police arrive at your door?
I also wanted to point to a couple of other projects that are related and might be of interest. One is the ongoing work of the two-person net.art team JODI, who early on started playing with the background of the web. Look at their home page, then view it's source.
The second project is by a group of artists that Stalbaum is part of called C5. It's called "Analogous Landscape" and gives form to many of his ideas about the impact of data (our understanding and use of information) on the landscape (landscape = our perception of the land and our surroundings).

posted by ryan griffis  # 10:12 AM
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