Tate Exchange 3/4th Feb 2018: School of Beginnings

Tate Exchange Conceptual Art Collaboration, Performance and Production.

Andrew Gallacher: Data for Data’s Sake



I will deliver spirited readings of this data. Perhaps I will stand at a lectern and be lit theatrically. I may wear a costume – perhaps academic robes, or a clerical surplice, or the evening dress of a concert tenor. These performances could last about 5 minutes and be performed to fit in with other events taking place in the venue. I envisage 4 such performances on each of the two days.


When not performing I will take highlighter pens and colourfully highlight parts of the data set that appeal to me. I will make marks on to the pre-printed A4 sheets producing, in time, a design of colour and form from the data. Thus we will have produced new data (which we may start to describe as art) from the data which was created to describe the previous art.


We could have a table and a few chairs so that any visitor who feels the urge may join in the transformation of the media: they can join in and use the highlighter/gold pens to create their own expanded media from the existing data.


Here is Media Transition in a data production loop: we collect, collate, analyse and disseminate. The previously acquired art has produced data. Without the art only the data survives. We are taking that data and transforming it into transitioned media.


‘Processes of imitation, self-discovery, remediation and transformation are recurring and inevitable, part of the way in which cultures define and renew themselves. Old media rarely die; their original functions are adapted and absorbed by newer media, and they themselves may mutate into new cultural niches and new purposes. The process of media transition is always a mix of tradition and innovation, always declaring for evolution, not revolution’.

(Thorburn, D. And Jenkins, H.(eds) 2003. Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. MIT. Mass. p12)

Tate is now a repository for data.

The art is gone and so we come in search of answers about what art was and what it may again become.

The data is in the form of XML documents.

(As I’m sure you know an XML data document contains data separated by tags that tell computer programs what to do with that information.)

The data I use comes from the government data website and describes the government art collection in XML format.

Data on works of art in the Government Art Collection (GAC)

For over 100 years, the UK Government Art Collection has collected works of art to display in British Government buildings around the world, promoting British art and culture. Data on works of art in the Collection includes artist, title, subject, location, provenance, description of the work and biographical information about artists for many of the 11,000 works of art on the website.”


It will be printed to look something like this:

132075 11952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 131805 11952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 132551 11952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 13294411952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 132947 11952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 135552 11952 Unknown Man Holding a Pap 132075 15940George Treby (c.1684-1742 131805 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132761 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132554 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132744 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132944 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132920 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742133003 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 134402 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 133157 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 135553 15940George Treby (c.1684-1742 135524 15940 George Treby (c.1684-1742 132075 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 131805 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133178 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 132687 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133392 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 132671 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133147 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133069 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton132547 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 132541 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133152 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 133151 24031Frederick Temple Hamilton 135554 24031 Frederick Temple Hamilton 132081 13127 Turn Table 131805 13127 Turn Table 133356 13127 Turn Table 132567 13127 Turn Table 135457 13127 Turn Table 132081 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 131645 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough132085 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 132085 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 131805 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 132480 24808Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 132086 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 132466 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 133528 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 135457 24808 Scythe Smithy, Bellbrough 132081 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 131645 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 13208518076 Cutting Oats near Great B 131805 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 132466 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 132401 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 133725 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 135457 18076 Cutting Oats near Great B 132075 14094 A Studious Sailor 131805 14094 A Studious

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