Small Change Writ Large: ‘The Fundamental Units’ by Martin John Callanan

Core77

Rain Noe at Core77 writes:

What does that look like to you? The cave drawings at Lascaux, maybe?

How about this one? A shield from an ancient civilization?

Nope, these are the lowest of the world’s low-value coins, those forgotten bits of metal that keep lint company in our pockets or fill forgotten jars. Perhaps sensing that cents are on the way out, Martin John Callanan—self-described as “an artist researching an individual’s place within systems”—is photographically preserving them for posterity with his The Fundamental Units project.

The kicker is that a regular camera wouldn’t do, not for what Callanan had in mind; so he teamed up with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, which is that country’s national measurement standards lab, to use their infinite focus 3D optical microscope. Callanan then captured some 4,000 exposures of each freaking coin, resulting in a series of 400 megapixel images that, blown up and hanging on a gallery wall, reveal details you’d never spot on the real deal. Every nick, scratch, dent, ding and discoloration are laid bare.

So far he’s captured cents, pesos and pence from Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lituania, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Swaziland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, not to mention the Euro; but by the project’s end, Callanan plans to have captured “the lowest denomination coin from each of the world’s 166 active currencies.”

see the full article

Coins of the World Photographed Using Europe’s Best Microscope

The Fundamental Units

Michael Zhang writes about the Fundamental Units over on Peta Pixel with lots of images.

Did you know that it costs the US Mint 2 cents to produce every 1 cent coin due to the cost of materials and production? Countries such as Canada have already done away with their lowest denomination coins due to their costs and lack of usefulness.

As these “worthless” coins cause debates in their governments about whether or not they should be abolished, photographer Martin John Callanan is on a mission to save them… not as a currency, but rather in photographs.

Read the full article

Peta Pixel

Article made it to the top of Digg.com

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Directory Of Fictitious Telephone Numbers – Impossible Transmissions

An aseptic space. One white table and on it a printed directory, accompanied by an apparently normal looking telephone. It would seem the right environment to make a call. And calls are, in fact, made. The phone operates automatically, dialling random numbers from the many listed in the phone book . The diffused audio allows visitors to listen to the classic dialling sounds, followed by a precise dead tone or a message saying, in varying languages, ‘the number you dialled does not exist’. The process repeats itself tirelessly; another number, another country, another language. A loop of sounds and dead time; a form of a dance, a ritual. A monologue or perhaps a soliloquy. No matter which of the many available numbers are dialled, it is certain that no calls will ever be answered because the list of numbers is officially exposed as The International Directory of Fictitious Telephone Numbers – an extensive list of numbers certified as non-existent and neatly divided into geographic areas of the world. The compilation of this phone book includes official requests from telecommunication regulators in different countries. The artwork, resulting from research by the British artist John Martin Callanan and presented first in Spain and then at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, is indefinitely offered as a resource for use in drama or film productions so that unsuspecting people aren’t disturbed by inquisitive viewers. Art in defence of privacy?

Benedetta Sabatini

Data as Culture: Open Day 16 March

Data as Culture: Open Day

 

Your chance to get hold of issue #3 of Text Trends newspaper.

The Open Data Institute (ODI) and MzTEK invite you to the Data as Culture Open Day.

The Data as Culture collection is set in the offices of the ODI, and aims to bring tangible interventions into the
mass accretion of data around us. This is an opportunity to see the artworks in the collection and speak to the curators and some of the artists.

Informal presentations from 2.30pm – 4pm, refreshments provided.

Find out more about the artists and the collection visit: theodi.org/culture/collection

Data as Culture: Open Day
16 March 2013, 12pm – 6pm.
Open Data Institute, 3rd Floor, 65 Clifton Street, London, EC2A 4JE

Along Some Sympathetic Lines, Or Gallery, Berlin

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

Along Some Sympathetic Lines

23 February – 27 April 2013
Opening 7pm, 22 February 2013

Or Gallery, Oranienstr 37, Berlin 10999, Germany

Or Gallery is pleased to present Along Some Sympathetic Lines, an exhibition of artwork by London-based artist Martin John Callanan, and an archive project by curator Liz Bruchet. The exhibition considers the poetic possibilities of data and its documentation, and the tenuous process of making meaning.

Martin John Callanan is an artist researching an individual’s place within systems. Callanan generates and reworks photographs, letters and electronic data into evidence of exchanges – between the individual, the institution and the networks of power that intertwine them. The exhibition presents four of the artist’s series: The Fundamental Units, the result of amassing millions of pixels of data, to photographs, in microscopic detail far beyond the capacity of the human eye, the lowest monetary unit of each of the 166 active currencies of world, only to enlarge and print them to vast scale; Wars During My Lifetime, an evolving newspaper listing of every war fought during the course of the artist’s life; Grounds, an ongoing photographic archive which charts ‘important places’ in the world where security restrictions limit the image to the carpeted, tiled or concrete floors; and Letters 2004-2006, Callanan’s correspondence with various heads of states and religious leaders which implicate them in conversations that question their very rationale of their authority. These acts of excavating, accumulating and visualising data draw out the sympathetic aspects within documentation and in so doing, mark and disrupt the underlying power dynamics.

A second gallery features an archive project by London-based curator Liz Bruchet. The display of ephemera from the personal archive of the curator’s grandfather, a Canadian insurance salesman and aspiring radio presenter, takes its inspiration from a found audio recording – part monologue, part autobiography, and part radio show – made in 1974. Harnessing the impulses of the collector, archivist and biographer, the curator reasserts her role as custodian and caretaker to nurture narratives and give weight to the subjective remnants of one man’s life.

This exhibition is curated by Liz Bruchet.

The exhibition is possible with the generous support of Or Gallery, the National Physical Laboratory, and UCL European Institute.

With thanks to Galeria Horrach Moya, (Hiper)vincles, Whitechapel Gallery, Book Works, David Karl, and Pau Waelder.

Martin John Callanan: On Systems and Processes (de sistemas y procesos)

art.es arte_contemporáneo_internacional a

Article and interview with Pau Waelder in Art.es #53

Download the full article as PDF

art.es international_contemporary_art announces the publication of its issue #53, with the following contents:

• art.es Project #44: Marina Núñez, Necrosis. (2013), digital image.
Cover and 22 inside pages. As always, an exclusive for the magazine (the originals belong to the art.es Collection).
Introductory text: Susana Cendán: Marina Núñez: “Everything has to do with the monsters”.

• Reflections:
- China’s Long March (4/10) (Zhang Fang).
- Meschac Gaba: Trying to change African society (Abdellah Karroum).
- A quantum reflection of Bakalhau (Cod Fish) (Fernando Galán).

• Media Art:
- Martin John Callanan: On Systems and Processes (Pau Waelder).

• Interview:
- Rafa Macarrón: “the solitude of man before the universe inmensity” (Fernando Galán).

• Film:
- Lipsett: a personal dilemma (Jorge D. González).

• Work_and_Word:
- Marco Ayres (Portugal)
- Simón Vega (El Salvador)
- Luis Gordillo (Spain)
- Pipo Hernández (Spain)
- Natxo Frisuelos (Spain)

• Exhibitions:
- The sublimation of detail: José Ferrero (Madrid) (Terry Berne).
- Bunga: beyond space: Carlos Bunga (Santa Mónica, California, USA) (Béatrice Chassepot).
- The descent into Marina Núñez’s hells (Valladolid, España) (Alfonso León).
- Reinterpreting art’s recent history: Roger Gustafsson (Madrid) (Fernando Galán).
- If you like small things: group show (A Coruña, España) (Nilo Casares).

• Museums
- Critical museology (2/2): On the limits of institutional art criticism (and critical museology as established discourse (Jesús Pedro Lorente)

• What’s going on in… Toronto? (John K. Grande).

• Books:
- “La Movida”, counterculture and normalization (La Movida, au nom du Père, des fils et du Todo Vale) (Juan Albarrán).

art.es is a 100 % bilingual magazine (English/Spanish) with contributions from the world over, and aimed at the entire world of genuinely contemporary art.

art.es focuses on established art as well as the latest creative iniciatives emerging from every corner of the planet. It informs and reflects on topics of interest, but with a fresh language and crisp design which are comprehensible to both specialists and amateurs. It has over 90 specialized collaborators and correspondents covering each and every geographical and thematic area of the contemporary art world.

Press release

Invited by: Daniel Laufer, 13th February – 20 March 2013

Invited By

Invited by: Daniel Laufer

13. Februar – 20. März
Eröffnung: Mittwoch, 13. Februar, 19 Uhr

February 13 – March 20
Opening reception: Wednesday, February 13, 7 pm

Eine Editionsbox mit 22 Künstlern / a box of Editions by 22 artists
Invited by: ist eine neue Editionsreihe von Provinz, zuerst veröffentlicht im Februar 2013. Invited by: versammelt eine große Zahl an zeitgenössischen Künstlern, die je einen Beitrag zu einer Editionsbox leisten. Die Beiträger werden je von einem kooperierenden Künstler eingeladen, der invited by: jeweils kuratiert.

Die Box, bei dieser Premiere im Format A4 und mit Beiträgen von 23 internationalen Künstlern, enthält Zeichnungen, Collagen, Kopien, Heftchen, Multiples, CDs, DVDs, verschiedene Drucktechniken etc. Die Box funktioniert als “Magazin in der Schachtel”, bietet aber ungeachtet des niedrigen Preises autonome und repräsentative Kunstwerke der teilnehmenden Künstler. Auflage: 100.

Invited by: is a new edition first released in February 2013. Invited by: gathered a large number of contemporary artists who each contribute to a Editionsbox. The contributors are ever invited by a co-artist invited by: each curator.

The box, in this premiere and A4, with contributions from 23 international artists, drawings, collages, prints, booklets, multiple, CDs, DVDs, various printing techniques, etc. The box contains functions as a “magazine in the box”, but despite offers the low price autonomous and representative works of the participating artists. Edition:100

Künstler / Artists: Lutz BRAUN (D), Hanna BRANDES (D), Martin John CALLANAN (UK), Sunah CHOI (KOR/D), Raphael DANKE (D), Agathe FLEURY (F/D), Nina HOFFMANN (YU/D), Adrian HERMANIDES (ZW/D), Hella GERLACH (D), Simone GILGES (D), Atalya LAUFER (IL/D), Daniel LAUFER (D), Kalin LINDENA (D), Alexandra MÜLLER (D), Toony NAVOK (IL), Martin NEUMAIER (D), Thomas RENTMEISTER (D), Annette RUENZLER (D), Roman SCHRAMM (D), Gerda SCHEEPERS (ZA/D), Hanna SCHWARZ (D), Viola YEŞILTAÇ (D/USA)

Invited by ist eine neue Editionsreihe von Provinz, zuerst veröffentlicht im Februar 2013. Invited by versammelt eine große Zahl an zeitgenössischen Künstlern, die je einen Beitrag zu einer Editionsbox leisten. Die Beiträger werden je von einem kooperierenden Künstler eingeladen, der invited by jeweils kuratiert.Die Box, bei dieser Premiere im Format A4 und mit Beiträgen von 22 internationalen Künstlern, enthält Zeichnungen, Collagen, Kopien, Heftchen, Multiples, eine DVD, verschiedene Drucktechniken etc. Die Box funktioniert als “Magazin in der Schachtel”, bietet aber ungeachtet des niedrigen Preises autonome und repräsentative Kunstwerke der teilnehmenden Künstler. Auflage: 100.

Invited by is the first in a new series of editions made by Provinz, first released in February 2013. Invited by brings together a greater group of artists, who all contribute to a box of editions. With every round of invited by, the contributors are selected and invited by a cooperating artist, who curates the actual box. 

The premiere box is of A4-format (roughly 21 x 31 cm) and contains contributions by 22 international artists. It comprises drawings, collages, copies, booklets, a DVD along with different printing techniques. The publication is conceived as a “magazine in a box”, yet it contains autonomous and representative artworks of the contributing artists at a notably low price. Edition: 100.

Text Trends newspaper: Environmental

Text Trends newspaper environmental

The second issue of Text Trends newspaper, looking at environmental data, will be available in limited numbers from 14 January 2013 at The Open Data Institute.

Over the past twenty years, global climate change has emerged as the overarching narrative of our age, uniting a series of ongoing concerns about human relations with nature, the responsibilities of first world nations to those of the developing world, and the obligations of present to future generations. But if the climate change story entered the public realm as a data-driven scientific concept, it was quickly transformed into something that the ecologist William Cronon has called a ‘secular prophecy’, a grand narrative freighted with powerful, even transcendent languages and values. And though climate science can sometimes adopt the rhetoric of extreme quantification, it also — as has been seen throughout this book — relies on the qualitative values of words, images and metaphors. This can even happen simultaneously: during the discussions that led up to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report of 2001, for example, a room full of scientists discussed for an entire week whether or not to include the three-word phrase ‘discernable human influence.’ Only three words, perhaps, but three extremely potent words (both qualitatively and quantitavely speaking), that between them tell a vast and potentially world-altering story.

Martin John Callanan’s ongoing Text Tends series offers a deadpan encounter with exactly this kind of quantification of language. Using Google data the series explores the vast mine of information that is generated by the search engine’s users, each animation taking the content generated by search queries and reducing the process to its essential elements: search terms vs. frequency of search over time, presented in the form of a line graph.

In the online manifestation of the Text Trends animations the viewer watches as the animations plot the ebb and flow of a series of paired search terms keyed into Google over the last ten years by Internet users around the world. In the case of the environment sequence featured here, pairs of words such as: ‘nature’ — ‘population’; ‘climate’ — ‘risk’; ‘consensus’ — ‘uncertainty’; ‘Keeling curve’ — ‘hockey stick’, spool out matter-of-factly, like a live market index, allowing the implied narrative content of these word comparisons (along with their accumulated cultural and emotional baggage) to play themselves out before us. In contrast to the hyperinteractivity of emerging news aggregators and information readers, Text Trends explores our perceptions of words presented as connotation-rich fragments of continually updated time-sensitive data.

As an investigation into both the generation and representation of data, Text Trends offers a visual critique of the spectacularization of information, a cultural tic that continues to generate the endless roll of statistically compromised wallpaper that surrounds so much public science debate, and which our book — Data Soliloquies — has in large part been about.

Richard Hamblyn
original version published in Data Soliloquies, UCL Environment Institute, 2009. ISBN 9780903305044

ISSN 2051-6126
ISBN 9781907829086

Rhizome Editorial: The Fundamental Units

Rhizome Editorial

How did this collaboration with National Physical Laboratory come about for your project The Fundamental Units?

For six months I was having tests run all around the UK on different types of microscopes such as scanning electron microscopes, at different institutions, universities and testing laboratories. The Curator of Modern Money at the British Museum suggested an idea which eventually lead me to the National Physical Laboratory.

I ended up at the Advanced Engineered Materials Group which is part of the National Physical Laboratory, using an Alicona infinite focus 3D optical microscope.

They were really into experimenting and pushing the equipment. It took about a month of tests to get the results we see. The process involved Petra the scientist in charge of the machine writing programs to capture the data as a whole, as the machine is designed for looking in detail at one tiny part of an object. We crashed it several times working out the right solution. Each coin, which are generally around 18-20mm in diameter, take a whole night to capture. Then computers run for three days assembling the data into extremely high resolution photographic images. We are talking files too big for normal image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Each photographic print is from files with around 400 million pixels.

What did some of the earlier tests look like?

Many microscopes are not optical, they don’t use light, and therefore produce results that are removed from what we generally expect to see. A scanning electron microscope, for example (attached), produces images in greyscale and the electric charge greatly emphasises dust and dirt. Clean images could be obtained though sonic cleaning and plating the coins in gold, but this started to become very removed from examining these low value tokens of exchange.

Could you explain the choice to scan these particular coins? How did you get a hold of them?

There are currently 166 active currencies using coins. Using online market places and by contacting national banks I have found the lowest donimation coin for each of these currencies. At the moment, at the beginning, we have imaged one from each continent. All 166 will be imaged.

What are you working on currently?

Well, the UCL European Institute have just (five minuets ago) awarded the research project funding to image the currencies of: Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania Sweden, and the UK.

As well as this I’m working on several larger works including archive the hugh photograph archive for Grounds grounds.greyisgood.eu

 

http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/dec/20/martin-john-callanan

 

Big photos of little coins: National Physical Laboratory

National Physical Laboratory (NPL) wrote:

Martin John Callanan of the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London contacted the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) as he wanted to put together an exhibition featuring large images of the lowest denomination coins from around the world.

Petra Mildeova from NPL’s Advanced Engineered Materials Group demonstrated that full colour images could be taken using an infinite focus 3D optical microscope. Five coins were imaged (containing over 400 megapixels), allowing coins of less than 20 mm diameter to be printed as 1.2 m diameter images.

 

Martin John Callanan described the images as “really stunning” and is exhibiting them at the Galleria Horrach Moyà in Mallorca, Spain, in an exhibition entitled ‘The Fundamental Units‘ (referring to the smallest denomination of coins on display and not as a result of working with NPL, the home of fundamental constants in the UK). He now hopes to enhance his exhibition by imaging a further 161 coins, one from each of the other countries around the world that use them.

 

The images have attracted interest from the British Museum and were featured by New Scientist as their image of the day on 4 December 2012.

 

The mapping of large areas at very high resolution is becoming a more regular requirement. In fact, the capabilities of the microscope used to produce the images of the coins were barely stretched, as they were only in 2D. Using the Alicona Infinite Focus optical microscope NPL is able to acquire 3D datasets from large areas, which can be used to study worn surfaces on a gear, drill bit or metal punch and hence produce a detailed measurement of the volume of material lost by wear of the component. Such quantified volume measurements can then be used to determine the best material or operating practice for a given material grade.

Back-to-basics money shot shows a cent’s battle scars – New Scientist


The euro has taken a bit of a battering of late – and not just in the financial markets. As you can see for yourself above, the surface of a 1-cent coin, while smooth to the naked eye, is pitted and scarred when viewed through a powerful microscope.

 

To create this image, artist Martin John Callanan, a fellow at University College London based in the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art, worked with Ken Mingard, Petra Mildeova and Eric Bennett at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory in London. The team used an optical microscope to create images of the lowest-denomination coins used in Australia, Burma, Swaziland and Chile, as well as the transnational euro. They took standard coins that had been in circulation and left the microscope to make 4000 tiny exposures overnight. It then took three days of processing to stitch these images together to create each final, 400-million-pixel version. The zoomable picture above is a low-resolution version.

 

The coin images are part of an ongoing series called The Fundamental Units in which Callanan explores “the atoms that shape the global economy”. Ultimately, the series will encompass all 166 of the world’s active currencies that use coins. The first five are on display as 1.2-by-1.2-metre prints, along with more of Callanan’s works, at the Galleria Horrach Moyà in Mallorca, Spain, until 17 January 2013.

Physics & Math, Picture of the Day, Science In Society

Sumit Paul-Choudhury, editor, 16:05 4 December 2012

MARTIN JOHN CALLANAN: Martin John Callanan, Horrach Moyà, Palma de Mallorca










MARTIN JOHN CALLANAN: Martin John Callanan
Horrach Moyà, Palma de Mallorca
29 November 2012 – 17 January 17 February 2013 (extended one month)
Opening, 8pm, 29 November 2012

On May 16, 2008, Martin John Callanan changed his name to Martin John Callanan, by Deed Poll, sworn and sealed at the City of London Magistrate’s Court. On July 5, 2012, Martin John Callanan assumed the name of Martin John Callanan by Deed Poll, sworn and sealed by a Comissioner for Oath, and enrolled in the Supreme Court of Judicature. Through this action, at once absurd and totally in keeping with the laws of the United Kingdom, the artist Martin John Callanan (formerly Martin John Callanan) turns an administrative process into a reflexion on his own identity and the systems that validate the laws and institutions that govern our society.

We live in a multitude of systems: natural systems that affect our environment, social systems that define the possible actions in the framework of an established community, computer systems that enable and control the transmission and storage of data with which we create our memory and the image of our world. They shape our everyday reality, but we tend to ignore their existence or assume it as an indisputable fact: as the clouds floating overhead, these systems respond to a logic that is largely out of reach of the average citizen.

Through methodical and precise processes, Martin John Callanan explores the notion of citizenship in a globally connected world. The relationship between the individual and the systems that surround and affect our lives take shape in a series of works in which both the structures and the fragility of these systems are shown, sometimes by resorting to the absurd and the excess of information. The atworks in this exhibition at Horrach Moyà Gallery venture into the dynamics of natural, economic, administrative and mass media systems by means of an observation both on the cosmic and the microscopic level.

Inspired by the forms of scientific data visualization, the artist made in A Planetary Order (Terrestrial Cloud Globe) a globe that only shows the position of the clouds during a second in February 2, 2009. This ephemeral map, made from hundreds of photographs from NASA satellites, is embodied in a sculpture created with a 3D printer and shown as an unattended object, an ignored finding, a fragile piece containing an unusual vision of our environment .

The economic system, which has raised to such notorious prominence in recent years because of its obvious impact on our lives, is a complex structure whose functioning is increasingly necessary to understand and, as much as possible, to predict or even control. In this sense, and in response to the dominance of macroeconomics in the discourse of the media, the artist chooses a microscopic view of the world economy. The Fundamental Units, a series that begins with the works produced by Horrach Moyà Gallery for this exhibition, is an exploration of the lowest denomination coins from the world’s currencies using an infinite focus 3D optical microscope at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington (UK). The images obtained with the microscope have been combined to form an extremely detailed large scale reproduction of the least valuable coins from Australia, Chile, the Euro, Myanmar and the Kingdom of Swaziland. In these images the humble metal acquires a planetary dimension and is displayed as the atoms that shape the global economy.

The reality shown by the media consists in turn of its own units, the news covering the front pages of newspapers and circulated by television and radio, websites, blogs and social networks. The speed and density of the information flow that is generated in every corner of the planet and invades all communication channels exposes us to a saturation that paradoxically makes data illegible. I Wanted to See All of the News From Today deals with this excess of information by means of a web site that automatically collects the front pages of hundreds of newspapers around the world and displays them in a grid. From these data, the artist has produced a series of prints in which the pages of newspapers form a totemic picture of everyday life in the information society.

Martin John Callanan completes this exhibition with Deed Poll, which is both the action taken in the process of change (or recovery) of his name on July 5, 2012 and the legal documents, canceled passport, letters and responses, official notice in the newspaper and other items related to this administrative procedure. Callanan thus adds to his analysis of the systems that determine the conditions of life in the societies and the planet we inhabit an action on a personal level, as an individual and citizen that participates (voluntarily and involuntarily) in the dynamics generated by these systems.

Pau Waelder, Curator

Texto en español (PDF)

Reviews in El Mundo, Diario de Mallorca and Ultima Hora: PDF (Spanish)

Art for science’s sake, UCL Lunch Hour Lecture, 1 November 2012

Art for science’s sake, UCL Lunch Hour Lecture, 1 November 2012
Dr Chiara Ambrosio, UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies

For centuries, scientists have sought help from artistic practice as a visual aid. This lecture will explore case studies from the 18th to the 21st century, to show that artists have often participated in the growth of scientific knowledge by disturbing and questioning concepts that scientists take for granted. Would current artist in residence programmes benefit from adopting a more sustained critical role, in light of this history?

Related post by Johanna Kieniewicz ‏from the British Library: Why scientists should care about art

Text Trends newspaper series for the launch of The Open Data Institute

To celebrate the launch of The Open Data Institute, a new series of Text Trends in newspaper form will be available for  from November 2012 to May 2013 at the ODI HQ in London, and added to their art collection:

Semiconductor
Stanza
Benedikt Groß & Bertrand Clerc
Ben Garrod
Martin John Callanan
Fabio Lattanzi Antinori
La Société Anonyme
Phil Archer
Ellie Harrison

Data is driving decisions that shape our daily lives: from friends to governments, we are becoming more reliant on connected data. Global opinion is increasingly communicated through data-driven visuals. Personal well-being, sentiment and influence are continually monitored through data-harvesting devices. Knowledge at all levels and on all topics can be handed to anyone, at any time. Open data is shaping our society.

 

In curating the showcase for the ODI we wanted to select a range of works that would not just reflect different data sources, but that would challenge our understanding of what data is, and how it may affect and reflect our lives. We were privileged in the breadth of content and the quality of work that was submitted as part of the open call, allowing for scope to select works that could comment on, complement and challenge perceptions in a coherent collection. The works range from geomagnetic data visualisations, to wall painted cellular automata, to tabloid newspapers of search term trend graphs – all tangible interventions into the mass accretion of data around us.

 

In Phil Archer’s work data comes from the depths of time, as symbolic representations of solar eclipses dating from 2137 BCE to 1991 CE are sketched in ultraviolet light. In contrast, ‘The SKOR Codex’ looks to preserve data for the distant future. The book, printed by La Société Anonyme, contains encoded binary information that has been carefully fabricated to last for over 1,000 years.

 

The works span space as well as time, in ‘20Hz’, geo-magnetic storm measurements are taken from the Earth’s upper atmosphere, while ‘Metrography’ portrays the London Underground transit map as a spatial reality – data defining specious geography. In ‘Still Lifes and Oscillators 1’ the mistreatment of image data by reformatting, reducing, and regenerating, questions the representation of visual data as the ultra-processed image, as the final stable state from a cellular automata cycle is painted back onto the space it was captured from.

 

Real-time environmental data is embodied in Stanza’s life-size sculpture assembled from computer components and acrylic slices of his own physique. In ‘Body 01000010011011110110010001111001’ the urban environment provides a dynamic flickering and clicking sentience to the otherwise inert structure, reflecting the personal level of influence data has on an individual, whereas Martin John Callanan’s ‘Text Trends’ reflects our actions en masse.

 

Works by Ellie Harrison and Fabio Lattanzi Antinori embody the current global political environment that is in constant flux, barely noticed on a personal scale, but that potentially have significant consequences for each of us.

 

As data becomes more accessible to artists, as it opens up for use as a raw material, we are seeing more of its integration into works that explore environmental socio-political and economic aspects of society. By utilising data in an experiential way, this selection of works pulls data out of the virtual domain and into our physical world. We hope the exhibition provokes discussion around what open data is, how it informs and affects us, and how we interpret it in a way that is meaningful.

 

MzTEK worked with the ODI to encourage a broad spectrum of applicants, and in the interest of openness we will release the demographic data from the submission process.

 

We would like to thank the ODI for all the support we have received, and for co-creating this with us.

Finally, we would like to thank all of the artists involved for their thought provoking works and their professionalism in the production of this collection.

Julie Freeman & Sophie McDonald, MzTEK, November 2012

Some of the other artworks:

Merkske at London Art Book Fair, Whitchapel Gallery, 21–23 September 2012

London Art Book Fair

Merkske will be with Slade Press for the fourth edition of The London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery, it takes place from the 21–23 September 2012.

Merkske published Text Trends: Though Text Trends, Martin John Callanan deals with the spectacularization of information. Using Google data he explores the vast search data of its users. An animation takes the content generated by search queries and reduces this process to its essential elements: search terms vs. frequency searched for over time, presented in the form of a line graph, 16 of which are reproduced in this book.

Wars During My Lifetime – Whitstable Biennale 2012

Harbour News, Whitstable

This new work for Whitstable Biennale 2012, Wars During My Lifetime, collects together wars that have taken place all over the world during one individual’s lifetime. A fascinating – and rapidly expanding – document, the newspaper makes no comment, but quietly brings the list to our attention. Many are wars we hear about on the radio on a daily basis, others are long since finished, or so small or distant they haven’t touched our consciousness.

Available from Whitstable Library, Elliotts Coffee Shop, Tea & Times, and Harbour News, throughout the festival: 1st to 16th September 2012

Saturday 8 September, 2pm starting from HQ
for this special one-off event, a local town crier will read out the wars within the newspaper.

Video of Deed Poll, 5 July 2012, Whitechapel Gallery

On the fifth day of July in the year 2012 at the building known as 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX, Martin John Callanan (formally Martin John Callanan) assumed the name of Martin John Callanan. A Deed Poll was made to that purpose. A Statutory Declaration sworn and sealed by a Commissioner for Oath to that affect. The Deed Poll shall be enrolled in the Supreme Court of Judicature. A public notice was published in the Camden New Journal, 5 July 2012.

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