The theme of the 18th edition of the Mine, Yours, Ours interdisciplinary festival is Unreal Data, which will be examined through a group exhibition under the curatorial baton of the !Mediengruppe Bitnik collective (from March 30 to April 28, 2023), and a public conversation (Friday, March 31 2023, at 7 p.m.).
Opening of the Unreal Data exhibition. Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
MINE, YOURS, OURS 2023: UNREAL DATA
Data is captured, recorded, analysed, displayed and presented as reality. Reality thus becomes increasingly shaped by abstraction based on probabilities and patterns that are tailored to individual needs. The balance between immediate experience and socially mediated conceptions and collected and processed data is changing in favour of the latter so that today we speak of data-driven societies. If our relationship with the world is mediated by an automated process of collecting and processing data and recommendations for behaviour based on this same data, and we find confirmation that this is so every day, then we must ask ourselves where in such a society is the space for our intervention in the world.
Considering how data is generated in such systems, Wendy Chun concludes that a change of state is necessary, things must be in motion in order to be recorded and become data. And she continues, “people who engage in heavily captured activity have a certain freedom, namely, free creation within a system of rules. They can optimize their actions, so that their effort is decreased or their recorded productivity is increased; they can become more rather than less skilful. In more cynical colloquial terms, users can game the system.” Intervention is necessary in the “lively data” itself, as Deborah Lupton calls the constant generation of a mass of digital data that becomes part of everyday life.
These interventions, which you will have the opportunity to meet at the Unreal Data exhibition (Filodrammatica Gallery, 30 March – 28 April, 2023), designed by Carmen and Domagoj from the !Mediengruppe Bitnik collective, open up an important question, is it possible to create new realities by modifying/altering data streams.
The public conversation about unreal data (large hall of Filodrammatica, 31 March, 2023 at 7 p.m.) continues as an extension of the exhibition. It is conceived as a space for the exchange of opinions about the way in which our societies are transformed under the influence of automated data collection and processing, and how we as individuals adapt to this situation. Members of the collectives !Mediengruppe Bitnik and RYBN, Felix Stalder, Srećko Horvat, Gordan Savičić, Marcell Mars took part in the conversation. You can listen to the audio recording of the conversation here.
30 March – 28 April, 2023
☛ Filodrammatica Gallery, Korzo 28/1, Rijeka
Thursday, 30 March, from 7 p.m.
GALLERY OPENING HOURS:
Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 4 – 8 p.m.
Sat 4 – 8 p.m.
WORKS PRESENTED BY:
Lauren Lee McCarthy, Jeremy Bailey,
Adam Harvey, Tega Brain i Surya Mattu,
Simon Weckert, Iodine Dynamics, Mario Santamaría,
Telecommuters Working Group
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
The exhibition Unreal Data focuses on how the shift to a data-driven society has necessitated that all the technologies we use essentially become part of the networked surveillance infrastructure. Automated data collection has become an intrinsic component of most technologies. Within this new and still emerging setting, we look at Unreal Data as a means to strategically intervene into data-driven systems. Unreal Data uses the ambiguous quality of data as an opportunity not to describe the world but to strategically producing data to provoke a specific outcome. Thus, Unreal Data is data that has been deliberately created or modified not to conform to the world, but to transform it – the lack of representational quality is not a bug, but a feature. We believe it is exactly this feature which opens spaces for action in a data-driven society where opting out is no longer an option.
In a post-surveillance world where tracking is ubiquitous and opting out is no longer an option, unreal-ing data is a way to playfully interact with algorithmic regimes and to regain some agency and control. The works in the exhibition find ways of doing this.
PRESENTED WORKS / ARTISTS:
- Lauren Lee McCarthy
- Jeremy Bailey
- Adam Harvey
- Tega Brain & Surya Mattu
- Simon Weckert
- Iodine Dynamics
- Mario Santamaría
- Telecommuters Working Group
Lauren Lee McCarthy
– furniture, video (3’50”)
Not all artists see big data as a fearful instrument. Since 2017, Lauren Lee McCarthy has been attempting to “become a human version of Amazon Alexa, a voice-activated AI system for people in their own homes.” The project is called LAUREN. Anyone can visit and sign up with an installation of a series of custom-networked devices that include cameras, microphones, switches, door locks, faucets, and other electronics. “For three days, I remotely watch over the person 24/7 and control all aspects of their home. I attempt to be better than an AI, because I can understand them as a person and anticipate their needs,” says McCarthy. “As surveillance and big data becomes increasingly ubiquitous, we are forced to negotiate new relationships with it.”
LAUREN is a meditation on the smart home, the tensions between intimacy vs privacy, convenience vs agency they present, and the role of human labor in the future of automation.
Lauren Lee McCarthy is an artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, an open source creative coding platform that prioritizes inclusion and access. She has received grants and residencies from Creative Capital, United States Artists, LACMA, Sundance, Eyebeam, Pioneer Works, Autodesk, and Ars Electronica. Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the Barbican Centre, Ars Electronica, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Haus der elektronischen Künste, SIGGRAPH, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA, Science Gallery Dublin, and the Seoul Museum of Art. Lauren is a Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts.
The You Museum (2014–ongoing)
– website, banner ads, print-on-demand products
The You Museum is an online museum that uses advertising retargeting technologies to follow you with personalized artworks wherever you spend time online. After answering a few simple questions about your aesthetic preferences, personalized artworks will appear during your daily browsing routine. Clicking or tapping artworks allows you to buy them as a variety of homewares (pillows, mugs, and tote bags) allowing the art to occupy your private physical living space as well as your online one.
The project was originally developed during a residency at The Moving Museum in Istanbul in 2014 in response to events at Gezi Park. The Gezi Park protests started when the Turkish government proposed transforming one of the last remaining public parks in the central city into a shopping mall in the style of an Ottoman barracks. Later, in an attempt to appease protesters, the government proposed adjusting the plan to include an art museum. The You Museum critically and playfully reflects on a similar type of transgression that affects us all: the transformation of the world’s largest public space, the internet, from a commons for free expression to an e-commerce shopping mall.
Jeremy Bailey is a Toronto-based self-proclaimed Famous New Media Artist. “Since the early noughties Bailey has ploughed a compelling, and often hilarious, road through the various developments of digital communications technologies.”(Morgan Quaintance, Rhizome.) His work has been presented widely including solo and group exhibitions at Panke.Gallery in Berlin, Whitechapel Gallery in London, LIMA in Amsterdam and Museums Quartier in Vienna. Commissions include projects for The MCA Chicago, FACT in Liverpool and The New Museum in New York.
Parallel Artifacts: Luf Boat (2022)
– two custom-made Wi-Fi geolocation spoofing devices, printed acrylic glass, cardboard postal box, Styrofoam peanuts, 40,0×26,1×15 cm
Parallel Artifacts consists of a series of electronic objects designed to virtually return illicit museum artifacts to their original location by exploiting wireless geolocation signals on smartphone devices. The first Parallel Artifact will attempt to relocate the Papua New Guinean Luf Boat from the controversial Humboldt Forum in Berlin to the temporary exhibition space in Filodrammatica Gallery in Rijeka. If successful, pieces at Humboldt Forum will begin to appear as though they were at the location of the Parallel Artifact in Rijeka. The exhibition is a proof-of-concept museum exploit with the ultimate goal of sending the device to Papua New Guinea where it would virtually relocate visitors at the Humboldt Forum to Luf Boat’s place of origin. Parallel Artifacts aims to increase historical awareness of colonized objects by overwriting the false reality of museum spaces with a truer simulation of an artifact’s original location. For more information about the project and a technical description of the device, visit: https://ahprojects.com/parallel-artifacts
Adam Harvey is an artist and applied researcher based in Berlin focused on computer vision, privacy, and surveillance. He is a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University (2010) and is the creator of the VFRAME.io computer vision project, Exposing.ai dataset project, and CV Dazzle computer vision camouflage concept.
Tega Brain and Surya Mattu
Unfit Bits (2015)
– six fitness trackers, four metronomes, two smartphones, two phone shakers, drill, bicycle wheel on a stool, video 1’46’’
Unfit Bits offers fitness tracker solutions. It provides simple techniques for generating great fitness data no matter what your lifestyle. Does your lifestyle prevent you from qualifying for insurance discounts? Do you lack sufficient time for exercise or have limited access to sports facilities? Maybe you just want to keep your personal data private without having to pay higher insurance premiums for the privilege? Unfit Bits provides solutions.
At Unfit Bits, we are investigating DIY fitness spoofing techniques to allow you to create walking datasets without actually having to share your personal data. These techniques help produce personal data to qualify you for insurance rewards even if you can’t afford a high exercise lifestyle.
Our team of experts are undertaking an in-depth Fitbit Audit to better understand how the Fitbit and other trackers interpret data. With these simple techniques using everyday devices from your home, we show you how to spoof your walking data so that you too can qualify for the best discounts. Our new range of desktop fitness devices are also available on this site.
Free your fitness. Free yourself. Earn Rewards.
Tega Brain is an Australian-born artist and environmental engineer whose work examines issues of ecology, data systems and infrastructure. She has created wireless networks that respond to natural phenomena, systems for obfuscating fitness data, and an online smell-based dating service. Her work has been shown widely including in the Vienna Biennale for Change and the Guangzhou Triennial. Her first book, Code as Creative Medium, is co-authored with Golan Levin and published with MIT Press.
Surya Mattu is a Brooklyn based investigative data journalist, engineer and artist who builds tools to investigate algorithmic systems and the societal harms they can cause. He leads the Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University. At The Markup he created Blacklight, a real-time website privacy inspector, and led Citizen Browser, a first of its kind independent audit of Facebook’s recommendation algorithms. His work at The Markup has received public recognition including two Edward Murrow awards and an NABJ award. He was also a 2021 Knight Wallace fellow. Previously, he was a contributing researcher at ProPublica, where he worked on Machine Bias, a series that aims to highlight how algorithmic systems can be biased and discriminate against people. Machine Bias was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Explanatory Journalism. His work has been exhibited at Somerset House, The Haus der Kulturen der Welt, The Whitney Museum, V&A Museum and Bitforms Gallery.
Google Maps Hacks (2020)
– one channel video installation (1’43’’), hand wagon, 99 mobile phones, vinyl print
99 second hand smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. The system is simulated with false data, which is also known as spoofing. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic.
Simon Weckert likes to share knowledge on a wide range of fields from generative design to physical computing. His focus is the digital world – including everything related to code and electronics under the reflection on current social aspects, ranging from technology-oriented examinations to the discussion of current social issues. He seeks to assess the value of technology, not in terms of actual utility, but from the perspective of future generations and uses technology in the digital space to cleverly impact the physical space, all the while creating some playful mischief. The outcomes are technological systems, installations and hybrid objects that strive to make complicated issues accessible.
What Remains (2019)
– NES game console, video game, CRT Monitor
It is 1986. You just came home from a skate session when a video game cartridge falls into your hands. Excited to find out what it contains, you visit your friend who just got a Nintendo for Christmas. You quickly insert the cartridge and a strange list of encrypted files appears…
As the story unravels, your life in Sunny Peaks transforms dramatically, and you start uncovering a dark secret threatening everyone. But no despair, your best friend is by your side… as well as a very helpful cat.
What Remains is an 8-bit game for the emblematic 1985 NES console, blending visual novel and adventure elements in a story translating real events from the 80s into an epic quest to save the world. It shows you several strategies that were used to spread industry disinformation as well as ways to fight back and regain agency by joining forces with others.
Iodine Dynamics began as a spin-off from Miskatonic University, where we developed the first games that ran and manoeuvred like animals. Now we are taking the next step, combining the principles of reuse and state of the art recycling with simple mechanical designs, retro electronics, and cutting-edge software for fun and intelligence. Iodine Dynamics has an extraordinary creative team of programmers, designers, writers and crypto-furbies who seamlessly combine advanced analytical thinking with bold 80s engineering and boots-in-the-mud practicality. We pride ourselves in building games that both break and work in the real world. Iodine Dynamics is represented by Arnaud Guillon, Chun Lee, Dustin Long, Aymeric Mansoux and Marloes de Valk.
Auto Sleep (2016–ongoing)
– hammock, monitor
Send an email to Mario Santamaría (email@example.com) and you will always receive an automatic reply. It will inform you that the artist is unavailable – because he is sleeping. Capitalist logic rejects sleep as ‘non-productive’, because it yields no revenue, no profits. The artist has generated countless of these autoreplies since starting in 2016. Each one is a defiant act of refusal to respond to today’s demands for our 24/7 availability. Santamaría merges conventions surrounding labor and sleep to question the boundaries between work and non-work.
Mario Santamaría works across a wide range of media, frequently using photography, video, performance, websites and online interventions. In recent years his work focuses on tactics to embody distribution protocols, performing actions such as physically travelling to his website by repeating the data path; going for beers around the city as a Google algorithm or founding a tour operator based on the Internet physical infrastructure. His work has been shown among others in: ZKM Karlsruhe, WKV Stuttgart, MACBA Barcelona, CENART Mexico, Arebyte London, Les Rencontres d’Arles and C/O Berlin.
Telecommuters Working Group
– collection of scripts, softwares, routines and strategies to disrupt remote metrics and management systems
With the adoption of quarantine measures all over the world, COVID-19 has made telecommuting the new norm for many workers. This shift facilitates the import of “disruptive” methods of platform management into the realm of domestic office work. This is a new step towards a generalization of a global “governance by numbers”. A new generation of remote management software is increasing the reach of labor metrics, allowing companies to capture every possible aspect of their employees’ behavior. The increased use of metrics is in line with two centuries of labor’s disciplinary tradition, its productivist ideology, and scientific management. In this context, software offers possibilities for “nudging”, pressurizing workers into producing data that validates the system of statistical metrics rather than focusing on the content or the quality of what is actually produced. Not to mention the nepharious effects on workers’ mental health and the many self-censorship mechanisms that these settings promote.
Supported by PACT Zollverein, la Labomedia, Espace Multimédia Gantner.
TELECOMMUTERS is a collective project, originated by RYBN.ORG, with contributions by !Mediengruppe Bitnik, b01, David Benque / The Institute of Diagram Studies, Jérôme St Clair, Sarah Garcin & Frédéric Danos, RYBN.ORG, Valentina Vuksic. More at https://rybn.org/telecommuters/
ABOUT THE CURATORS:
!Mediengruppe Bitnik are Domagoj Smoljo and Carmen Weisskopf. They were awarded the Swiss Art Award in 2008 and 2014 for their work and received the Golden Cube Award Kassel in 2013 and the Prix de la Société des Arts Genève in 2017. Their works are shown internationally, most recently: at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2023); Art Safiental Biennale (2022); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2022); Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art Ljubljana (Solo, 2021); Kunsthaus Zürich (2021); Laboratory of Art and Form, Kyoto (Solo, 2020); KINDL – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2019); House of Electronic Arts, Basel (Solo, 2019); Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin / South Corea (2017); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2017).
Friday, 31 March, 2023. at 7 p.m.
Public Conversation About Unreal Data
☛ Filodrammatica, large hall, Korzo 28/1, Rijeka
Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
How are our societies transformed under the influence of automated data collection and processing? How do we as individuals adapt to this situation?
!Mediengruppe Bitnik, RYBN,
Felix Stalder, Srećko Horvat, Gordan Savičić,
Mario Santamaría, Marcell Mars,
and all of you who join us
* language of the conversation: English