Databases, encyclopedias, indexes, dictionaries, and directories are not merely devices of data organizing, but also mediums for building hierarchical systems. Not only they convey topic specific information but also propagate political and aesthetic ideologies, reflecting background and interests of their producers. "The correct", "the necessary", "the important" or "the secondary" for a user to know, to study, to invest - all those messages embedded into systems of knowledge and sorted according to hierarchy established by their editors. Methods of distribution, managing of contents, the structure, lay a distinct track to control and design of common knowledge, shaping thinking patterns.
The global network, providing a new space for distribution of traditional data-collections, also grants a possibility of their deconstruction, challenging their authority by making use of inherent practices of the Net: decentralization and release of information, casting doubt upon hierarchies through the new form of data-organization, popularizing of canonical and non-canonical materials, formalizing, aestheticizing and so on.
Current exhibition compiled of nine art projects, each presenting an original approach to the theme, placing in doubt, rethinking the signification, the function and the objectives of data collections on the Net.
Oodlala - "The secret life of scattered objects" by Tamar Schori develops a peculiar database by the agency of its users. The work invites visitors to upload images of objects linked to their private memories, alone with associated stories. The uploaded objects can be cross-connected. Thus user turns to a donor of the open library and to its cataloguer, becomes an active partner to the creation of the new knowledge-base concerned with personal memories.
bigQuestions.com by Myron Turner is a searchable and active library composed up to now of over 42,000 entries extracted from websites and 60,000 book entries from 1000 library catalogues. The organizing principle of the library is the thematic relation of each piece to some major questions of philosophy, religion or science (Big Questions) selected by Turner. The archive also features a real time (stripped) search execution, disclosing the process of data mining. The result of a search in this library is always combined of private queries and the "big questions", creating, according to Turner, new verbal and cultural conjunction. The search results are pre-selected and restrained within relevant to the topic boundaries, according to this library producer. The search for the word "dog" for example would produce results containing also terms "hell", "evil", "faith" etc.
/r-echos/ by Jerome Rigaud is a blog and an archive built of links and extracts hacked-taken from other websites and blogs, creating a collage of quotations that forms an archive, searchable by term, word, and description. [The idea of the hack is inspired by EYEBEAM project.] The work suggests re-organization of data while building a repository out of other people creations and presents a personal view of network reality.
The Doron Golan's website, Computerfinearts, presents a collection of digital-fine-art-works classified by names of artists, with a number of creations for each name. All the displayed artworks had been bought by Golan or been presented to him by artists. The collection, essential for getting acquainted with today's net art, exposes the vision and approach of Doron Golan one of the central artists and collectors working on the Net.
Simon Biggs, in his poetical and conceptual project Babel creates an allegory on the story by Jorge Luis Borges "The Library of Babel". The work deploys the cataloguing technique of Dewey Decimal System, used to organize libraries, creating a visual metaphor for the infinite nature of knowledge. Here this method turns to the system of navigating the Net, a taxonomy of codes for mapping websites.
Des Frags by Reynald Drouhin, deconstructs visual data taken from the network and organizes it by different key terms. The stock works as an idiosyncratic dictionary, translating the pictures submitted by users with imagery found related to a manually selected keyword. For example, if user submits an image of the moon while choosing the keyword "flower" he/she receives by email the translation of the moon image assembled from pictures of flowers.
Variations (2003) by Don Sinclair is a database made as a paraphrase of the Photoshop's "Variations" interface, an aesthetic deconstruction of a bicycle trip, an investigation of "the journey", an observation on the concept of "place" through collection of bicycle riding data (speed, wind, temperature etc.)
The bomb project (2000) by Joy Garnett is an active database made of links, images, texts, archives; institutional, military, manufacturing and activists' websites and documentation connected to the subject of atomic warfare. The project operates mainly as a supplemental repository for artists, providing historical background and materials on the topic. It presents diachronic/synchronic snapshot of the bomb-ology and seeks for a place of the bomb within the history of the human kind.
The classic work of Brad Brace, The 12hr ISBN-JPEG Project, that was launched in 1994, is one of the first works anticipating data network as an artistic substance, which central point is an everyday counter-hegemonic dialog.
Current no-org.net exhibition raised the self-reflecting question of our authority as curators and distributors/producers of knowledge. In attempt to answer this question we chose to give up our ultimate right to show/hide the artworks submitted to the projects exhibited on our website. Therefore, we decided to present all the works we have received in response to our calls for all the previous as well as for the current project.
It is important to note, that by doing so we are not canceling our curatorial role, nor devaluating our responsibility for the choices made. Indeed, we run the curated show that unite projects located closer to the concept at hand and achieved higher artistic values (in our opinion). It seems to us that opening the archives may allow for new interpretations of the chosen for the exhibitions topics, and for observation of the relative value of curatorial choices.
We believe that this step may open a deeper debate about the process of exhibition of art on the Net, at least in relation to our activities. The opening of our archives would allow for examination of this process and relation to it, creating new channels of dialog between the artists, critics, the visitors and us*.
*Please note that projects submitted for exhibitions, but not connected at all to their topics appear under link "non-related submissions"
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