HereNow art and tech residency: Outcome Exhibition
I’ve been thinking through past works that have focused on the production of online news, it’s distribution, and the complexities that data analysis brings to these productions, since 2013 with my work on the Leveson Enquiry, algorithms ‘curating’ online news with Low Animal Spirits, also looking at the incredible interdependencies between social media and finance in Breaking News Flash Crash, and our twitterbot @LowAnimalSpirit tweeting highly speculative headlines (2014). I found the models of mass behaviour that finance affords useful to unpack the problems revealed of late, with news production as a particularly interesting focus, primarily because we care whether it’s true, or not, and as such are invested in it’s truth value. These works explored, early on, how the dynamics and protocols of platform capitalism contribute to undermine the very process of democracy itself, through psychological profiling, and targeting, at a granular scale. I’ve lectured about these ideas extensively – developed into what I’ve called Publishing as Process - over the last 5 years, in this country and further afield in Mexico, France, Germany, and so on. More recently I’ve been writing these ideas up as a book, developed from an earlier essay published in the Journal of Visual Art, as my research has become a living reality over the last 1.5 years events, to such an extraordinary degree. The exhibition and writing experiment: de-leb at Banner Repeater covers these ideas too, with other wonderful artists thinking through similar ideas, whilst also providing an opportunity to write a collectively authored science fiction based on fact, time-stamped through smart contract on the block - exploring the capacity to broker, and withhold, personal data.
My new work projects the near future developments of data mining companies such as Cambridge Analytica, facilitated by the seamless interface language affords, with Interactive Voice Recog units Alexa, Google Home, et al, as they follow the facebook dialog agents lead, going off-script as AI learns language through negotiation skills, whilst trading in the ultimate data of my biocode. Drawing on my experience as an adolescent at the ‘Tall Girls Clinic’ Great Ormond street children’s hospital, amid new ‘readings’ of my biocode via online DNA analysis: 23andme, the IVR’s discuss historical forms of measure previously used to calculate what degree of agency, if any, the subject might be afforded, amidst future projections of new gradients of measure within the burgeoning techno-capitalist landscape.
de-leb develops within the matrix
of a collective science fiction as an experimental writing project
through multi-actor/actant input.
It introduces the capacity for an individual to broker their own data, through smart contracts, facilitated via blockchain, and asks what new values, if any, might be attributed as a result.
As such, it introduces the possibility of considering digital citizenship via the blockchain, and the contractual instruments that might accommodate this, with an urgency that attempts to think through these ideas fully enmeshed within the tensions of the libidinal and political economy of today.
de-leb takes it’s name from the situation that a de-Leb (a dead celebrity) - typically enjoys more data choice from beyond the grave - i.e. they have more agency over the deployment of their data: name, image, the very idea of them, and the products that they may be associated with - than those still living.
A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance
30th Sept - 27th Nov: 2017 - Banner Repeater
curated by Ami Clarke group exh + talks prog
From the romantic origins of Stéphane Mallarmé’s text “Un coup de dès jamais n’abolira le hasard” - a throw of the dice will never abolish chance - we consider new ways of thinking through the centuries old puzzle of code, numbers and language. Mallarmé’s famous typographic layout of words on the page, hover for some as a precursor to the concrete poetry of performative code, that from a modernist perspective proved ideological in its refutation of ideology, as well as metaphysics. Mallarmé’s text also resonates through Roland Barthes interpretation, and the advent of the reader, whilst a more recent study by the philosopher Quentin Meillassoux, draws out matters of contingency and chance, through an indeterminate code.
Acting as a moving configuration that materialises in several forms throughout the exhibition period, an online work hovers as a ‘holding page’ projected into the project space as a site of speculation for further works to develop. The work draws on the late Elaine Sturtevant’s early practice of making works of other artists works through Haring Tag and Elie Ayache’s writing on contingency in his book The Blank Swan - with a copy of the publication Elaine Sturtevant: Author of the Quixote also on display. Embedded within the online work in the project space a video hints at the mythologies and rumour that fuel the story of the blockchain, through glimpses of a local home-grown bitcoin mining rig. These works wait, expectantly, for further development through two discursive workshops experimenting with publishing through the blockchain, and how these ideas might bring about new ways of working, and instituting - with invited contributors: Tom Clark, Ruth Catlow, Alessandro Ludovico, Karen Di Franco, and Ben Vickers.
The very first block of data in Bitcoin; the Genesis block, contained a “secret” message inscribed within it of The Times (UK) headline commenting on the fallibility of the current banking system: 'The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks'. A recent news headline reports on the UK Government trials of blockchain technology in the Welfare Payments system, partnering with Barclays Bank. The workshops aim to discuss the several, and possibly contradictory claims made regarding the blockchain, whilst developing a digital puzzle of our findings, that will be inscribed, ascribed, and described through the block.
Yuri Pattison configures Phillip Zimmerman’s Pretty Good Privacy book in two new custom server case works in the project space, following his Un-Publish commission earlier in the year, supported by the Goethe Institute for the Banner Repeater publishing as process event. Pattison's work focus’s on an intriguing instance of publishing as a strategy to avoid censorship. Zimmerman had produced a free software permitting anyone who used it to enjoy the same cryptographic security as governments and large corporations, and notably became of interest to the US government as a result. He published the digital code as a book, and distributed it globally, correctly summising that it would be politically difficult for the Government to then prohibit a book that could be found in a public library or local bookstore.