Victoria Vesna – Database Aesthetics, Art in the Age of Information Overflow

Victoria Vesna

book – University Of Minnesota Press – ISBN 9780816641192
Database are collections of data with an embedded sense and their planned structure defines the conceptual relationships among items. It’s a cultural infrastructure, sometimes even similar to literature production, selecting and connecting small or vast amount of data with invisible mutual wires. A database defines: access, philosophy of its structure, and then, eventually, a narrative that tells author’s relationships intentions. Of course making art with databases it’s not about using data as a sculptor would use marble, but about envisioning sense in structured and homogeneous data collections, turning on a visionary view that would enlighten extensive and intertwined paths within these collections. And if Manovich here states that “creating a work in new media can be understood as the construction of an interface to a database” the many projects and theories described by this anthology contributors rethink the relationships between data, visualizing new possible sense, and even (rarely) going even beyond the interface paradigm. Technical, aesthetic, and ethical analyses support artistic data collection from analog media to the digital dimension, outlining a natural need of using database as cultural archetype, as databases are the core engine of the whole net (somehow the biggest conceived database).