May You Live in Interesting Dataverses

Japanese sound and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda’s ‘data-verse’ is one of 79 artists’ works featured from around the world at the 2019 Venice Biennale Arte. The 58th volume of the international exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff opened on May 11th and is titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ inviting artists, connoisseurs and visitors to “see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear.”

Ikeda’s work often renders the majestic and the exalted through mathematical explorations using sound and light. Supported by Audemars Piguet, ‘data-verse’ is an audiovisual installation that interprets the omnipresent nature of data in our modern lives. The three-part research piece variegating from the microscopic to the human to the macroscopic employs massive open source scientific data sets from CERN, NASA and the human genome project to orchestrate through high-definition video projections and minimalist electronic soundtrack – ‘the hidden facets of nature and the vast scientific knowledge underpinning our existence’.

“When I set out making this work, my approach was always, first and foremost, that of a composer. Rather than creating a traditional musical composition, I used data as my source material, applying a system and structure as you would with any score.” – Ryoji Ikeda

The exhibit is open to the public at the Venice Biennale arsenale through November 24th, 2019

Feature Image above: data.tron vy Ikeda on show in transmediale 10, Berlin, Germany

Making Art from Personal Data: Steven Cartwright

For the last 20 years for every hour, artist Stephen Cartwright has been meticulously recording his exact position in space and time – the latitudes, the longitudes, the precipitation and his health data. The Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio curated an exhibition this winter with ‘Light’ as its muse and its material. Cartwright’s Floating Map & Floating Information series is one of seven installations currently on view at the museum through May 12th that use light to translate experiences and make visible what we discern about our world.

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Hyperallergic interviewed Cartwright on how he transforms his personal data into abstract sculpture.

“I’m trying to do some pieces now about breaking away from self-tracking and seeing how other people and their data can be part of my work,” Cartwright says. “I’m working on a project called Timeline Atlas, which will allow people to put simple information in a website and look at a three-dimensional rendering of their life locations, and they can add locations for loved ones and friends.” People will also be able to compare their own data against others’, and even create physical manifestations of their data.

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Making Art from Personal Data : Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Series

Image: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Room 2006 in Rafael Lozano-Hemmer : Pseudomatismos MUAC Museum, Mexico City, Mexico 2015. Photo: Oliver Santana

Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC exhibited Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s immersive public-art installations, this past winter. Fast Company interviewed the Mexican Canadian artist about the place and positioning of technology in creating art, on the nuanced identities in Latin American art and the use of personal bodily data of the audience in a public art context.

The museum is not a neutral space. We are often asked to go to a museum to be inspired by what is on display and see what is deemed important by the intelligentsia. The experience is quite different. The beautiful thing about public space is that it’s out of control. It’s a place where you don’t get as many levels of intermediation.

People could stumble upon the artwork as they go home from work. Their participation is far more surprising. It’s more political because the diversity you can get in public space is of course greater if people choose to go to a museum–especially if it’s a paying one. In a museum, you think about what you’re doing and what has happened in the past.