Ex Libris Fisherarium is an ongoing series of art projects curated by Associate Professor Michael Goldberg. The projects comprising work by staff, alumni and associates of Sydney College of the Arts are themed around the idea of ‘the book’ in all its historical and contemporary manifestations.
Project: Data Retention by Gianni Wise
With the proliferation of data networks, the human mind always find ways to ‘wire-up’ new connections between itself, objects, ideas, events and the world. I use wires and books as a form of ready-made art that work as props for memory. Objects external to the mind can trigger memory and make connections. I am interested in this interplay between mind and external world. When Umberto Ecco claimed in the Name of The Rose (1988): “Wanting connections, we found connections always, everywhere, and between everything” he refers to a world ‘exploding’ in a whirling network of interrelationships where everything (appears to) point to everything else, everything explains everything else.
Gianni Wise’s installation has its menacing aspects. The title, ‘Data Retention’, might well refer to current government policies regarding the retention of metadata – the harvesting from telecommunications networks of personal information by law enforcement agencies – ostensibly to protect the public from acts of terrorism. Indeed, the installation itself displays a number of sinister ‘packages’. Perhaps they hold data. But they also disturbingly resemble IEDs (or ‘improvised explosive devices’). The ‘connections’ Wise refers to carry the potential to penetrate deep into our personal lives, challenging privacy and potentially violating fundamental rights. In this sense, the installation reflects on the threat of data retention exposing our personal lives ‘like an open book’. Wise’s use of ambiguously wired devices may equally suggest the mind’s desire to invent ‘paranoid’ connections where there are none.
Dates: 23 February to 26 March 2015
Where: Levels 2, 3 and 4 exhibition cabinets, Fisher Library North
Cost: FREE and open daily to the public
Times: Opening times vary, please check the website
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