UNDER THE INFLUENCE: curated by Janet Shih and Chihao Yo
OPENING: October 31st, 2013 6pm-8pm
(HALLOWEEN! Costumes welcome)
RUNS: November 1 - December 11
In the GELMAN GALLERY, Chace Center, 2nd Floor
20 North Main Street Providence, Rhode Island.
Featuring YOUR FRIENDS:
Dillon Froelich, Dan Cho, Hala Khoursheed, Stef Liu
Hyo Jin Yoo
Nupur Mathur, Gefeng Wang, Jennifer Vincent
Data are produced by sampling into discrete and countable things a world which is continuous, multiple, and ultimately more nuanced than any possible representation. To sample is to essentialize in some way. It is to turn what is temporal and contingent into something static, categorical, and unchanging.
Thus to sample the world into data both adds something and takes something away. Erasure: we lose the play in phenomena, the multiplicity, the ambiguity and ambivalence. Excess: who has performed the sampling, with what technology, what are the schemata, how and where is it represented and stored, and how is this data been imparted validity? How much is it worth? There is no datum, only the dataset.
Data always speaks of an institution, it is given authority by the discourse of Science or of Industry. It is this that separates data from language — whereas the intersubjective concepts with which we grasp the world are constantly changing but can be changed by no one in particular, data is a private language we take on institutional faith and/or training.
Further, that which is countable is a special class of concept — it is also that which is computable, parsed and calculated. Machine interpretation is second-order interpretation via code. Where do we go from here?
At a certain point, numbers begin to flow again. Colliding schemata become qualitative — surrounded by data, we cannot help but de-sample, intuit, visceralize. Let’s play with that visceralization.
The inimitable Jer Thorp and I have been working on IntoTheOkavango.org. It’s live documentation platform for an expedition led by ornithologist Dr. Steve Boyes, who is endeavoring to turn the fascinating Okavango Delta into a World Heritage Site in order to protect it from damage and exploitation. Here’s Steve talking about his work in the Okavango.
The site displays data which is uploaded daily, via satellite, by the expedition team. Data is also available through a public API, allowing anyone to re-mix, analyze, or visualize the collected information.
For Jer and I, it’s research and development for ways in which rapid public development and visualization might positively impact science communication.
"…the data exhaust everyone produces everyday through the use of these devices, computers and cellphones and ATMs and self-driving cars, is more personal than we think. whether it’s corporations building an advertising profile on you, individuals looking to hire you or date you, or the NSA evaluating your potential as a terrorist, personal data are increasingly defining, and increasingly inescapable. and we have to reckon with that, and in an art context, one way is to find alternative means of relating to data, ways that are not about classification and commodification and control but which emphasize embodiment and subjectivity and expressivity. there is a critical dimension in pointing out that data always have a qualitative aspect and mean different things depending on how they are cast. Facebook and Google and the NSA don’t have to get the final word."
For the next two weeks, I am artist in residence at the Wave Farm in upstate NY, a center for, as they put it, transmission arts, and home of the community radio station WGXC. I’ll be conducting rhythmanalysis exercises and working on a piece for broadcast.
From where I’m sitting right now, I can see both a deer and a rabbit.
I’m in Sydney this week for ISEA, first time for both. My paper:
OpenPaths: a new approach to aggregating personal geographic data
The collection of personal geographic data from mobile devices is a ubiquitous practice of service providers and application developers. These data are being stored, analyzed, and monetized primarily by corporate interests; there is limited agency for individuals over their own data. Awareness among the public regarding the value of their personal data is nascent. OpenPaths, created by the Research and Development Lab at the New York Times Company, is a platform and a model and a platform that demonstrates the collective value of personal data sovereignty. It was developed in response to widespread media coverage of the obfuscated but accessible location record generated by all Apple iOS devices. OpenPaths participants store their encrypted geographic data in a cloud infrastructure while maintaining ownership and programatic control. Projects of many kinds, from mobility research to expressive artwork, petition individuals for access to their data in exchange for a stake in the outcome of the project. Ultimately, we would like to activate the practice of “participatory sensing” on a large scale in a way that self-regulates the creation of ad-hoc geographic datasets. Furthermore, within a theoretical context, OpenPaths moves beyond locative media’s primary concerns with connectivity, the coupling of data to place, and spatial representation to address the components of an ethical implementation of crowd-sourced geographic systems in the age of “big data”. How can we seat the individual in a mode of control over personal geographic narratives in a society in which locative media has become banal?
Just wrapped up my third Eyeo Festival, fully inspirational. The vibe at Eyeo is such practitioners talk about the process behind the curtain, to their peers, which makes the hallway debates and beerside confessions all the more compelling. Coming this year as someone newly dedicated to pedagogy, chats with individuals engaging critically in that space that I’d yet to connect with such as Amit Pitaru (pictured) and Ali Momeni at the Code+Ed workshop were a hilight for me, as well as killer presentations by Daito Manabe and Rafael Lorenzo-Hammer. Also, James Patterson’s work was some of the first shit I saw on the web, and to have an unprintable conversation with him was rad. But having so many of my talented friends together repping NYTLabs, Eyebeam, Columbia SIDL, DIY, rules.
A reminder that it’s not so much about projects as it is cultivating presence of being and perceiving the world.