Thursday, 26 February 2009

Data Art

Saw a new media exhibition at CCA in Glasgow the other day. Very frustrating. I tend to be a real sucker for technology but I must admit that I’m getting really tired of seeing vague gatherings of “data” being uploaded and “manipulated” and then downloaded and transformed into sound and played back in the same space. The relationships between source and destination seem so tenuous and untraceable/inaccessible that the work looses all potential to engage the viewer in discursive/productive or even poetic thought. It was beautiful in an electronic-aesthetic kind of way but it simply didn’t take me anywhere - even with some explanation from the artist. It might be argued, of course, that I was at fault because I didn’t think it through thoroughly enough but I think that would miss the point. What I think defines good work is it’s ability to begin some kind of discourse, dialogue or thought process which I can take up and further pursue and explore. In other words I expect work to stimulate intellectual (and perhaps to some extent emotional) activity. There’s a contradiction here, which comes from the realisation that the work DID in fact stimulate intellectual activity in me but this has nothing to do with the articulacy of the work – quite the reverse.


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