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| record, record | data obsession

October 23, 2008

SHIFT Electronic Arts Festival. Basel

23 – 26 OCTOBER 2008

The last week in October Shift will present projects drawn from the entire spectrum of electronic arts, including music, visual arts, film & video screenings and, above all, interdisciplinary ‘cross-over’ projects and productions that break the bounds of established disciplines. Shift is a festival that gives centre stage to a single theme that resonates throughout the whole programme. The festival theme, “record, record” refers to this era’s obsession with recording and storing data, which generates an endless data glut. Everywhere and every minute, increasingly capable media record, back up, upload, and process data then send it on its way. A patently endless archive is being created – spread far and wide in complex data banks and on multi-medial and often mobile personal gadgets.

Exhibition

The works of Aleksandra Domanovic, Esther Hunziker and Martin Brand present different perspectives on the festival theme “record, record”. They address current social issues related to the voluntary and involuntary registration and storage of data, as well as the constitution and construction of identity: how do I record myself; how do I present myself in databanks; how many, and which kind of data concerning myself do I reveal?

> Aleksandra Domanovic Anhedonia (2007) Video

Anfedonia came out of a desire to replace the visual layer of an entire film with tagged footage, putting the words from the script into a search engine. In this case »Annie Hall«, 1977 by Woody Allen, was chosen for its ground braking structure of long shots and almost only dialogue based content. Interview

> Esther Hunziker ooo (2008) Interactive online videos

Videos in the ‘ooo’ series show every-day scenes in public space: seemingly incidental, anonymous and unspec-tacular footage, urban scenes one might find anywhere in the world. Viewers can interrupt the flow of these short loops. Action stops and doubles. The result is an asynchronous circumstance, as if one had stopped and doubled time.

> Martin Brand MATCH (2005) 3-channel video

‘Match’ is based on found video footage of a fight between hooligan gangs, one of the arranged encounters for the purpose of beating the hell out of one another. Martin Brand stumbled upon websites and DVDs con-taining images of these fights – a jumble of amateurs’ material, much of which bore traces of having been copied numerous times. This huge visual stash contained images of the same fight, which had been recorded with three different cameras. Brand used the soundtrack to synchronise the three perspectives. Hooligans evidently gain selfassurance not only from the extreme immediacy of physical contact during the fight.

Shift 2008 investigates and questions these global developments and their stealthy, pervasive influence on everyday life, which nobody can evade. The questions are, what happens with all this data; where does it end up; who uses it, and when, and how? Which functions do archives and data banks fulfil, and for which future? Which ways of dealing with knowledge are feasible? Which kinds of surveillance, manipulation and abuse are possible – and how might one resist or outwit them?

The Shift festival 2008 addresses this topic in the light of 3 interpretations of one key word: record

To register: to record

The potential to record endlessly is given – and this necessarily poses questions as to who may or ought to record (what), and when, and to what ends. The field of electronic arts is largely based on the potential of technical recording.

To store: on record

Digitalisation has changed the procedures and power of archiving. File-sharing and Open Source software have led to the proliferation of new, dynamic, decentralised archives. These pose a serious challenge to the traditional dominance of central, static archives: for the question of who has access to what remains crucial.

To process: re-recording records

By playing with the parameters of recording and of that which is recorded, art opens up cracks that allow us to look below the surface: to look at the specific materiality of a recording medium as well as at how the archive-based practices of repetition, stuttering and re-mixing engage signifiers and the signified in lively interaction– which ultimately also implies an exciting approach to an unimaginable abundance of data.

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