Data For Data’s Sake #2 – Shredding

Tate Modern

Collaborative making at Tate Modern, 5th floor, Blavatnik building on 3rd and 4th February 2018. Data for Data’s Sake (2018) invited visitors to take government data about UK government art collections (including the Tate’s) personalise it, shred it and cage it, to produce new works of data.

XML Data

Using XML data from the government data website (government art collection) for performance reading/singing of raw data.

Shredding the data

Highlighting/colouring A4 sheets to produce new ‘works of Data’ + inviting visitors to make their own works from shredding the data and caging the data. Works of Data which turn into works of art, which must, of course, be destroyed… because:

Art education erased

We’re some way into the future. Art education has been erased as part of a strategy by a conglomerate of mega-businesses to narrow the imagination of the people and suppress the production of difficult and ambiguous questions.

Art no longer exists

As a result of this process art no longer exists. There are no artists. Tate Modern has become a data storage centre. What once was designated as art has now been found to be the most reliable way to store harvested information.  Data seems to stick well, for an indefinite period, in the multiplicity of shapes, images, and materials that art used to produce.  (Data now takes the place of where meaning used to reside.)

Admiring the volume of data collected

Most people visit Tate Modern not to look at art but to admire the quantity of data collected. Some however visit for a different reason; an attempt to retrieve lost bits of data; everything from archives of family emails and photos, to missing corporate histories and cultural memories, somehow hoping to find them in a tiny part of what used to be known as art.

Muster Station – The School of Beginnings

We work at Tate Modern as conservators of this data. In a box in a corner of a remote corridor in the building’s basement a group of us (known as Muster Station) accidentally stumbled upon a series of images that suggested how artists might think. Based on this we set up the School of Beginnings as a way to start thinking about how to bring art into life again.

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