edited by Lena Brüggemann und Francis Hunger – Search Routines: Tales of Databases


D21 Kunstraum Leipzig, ISBN-13: 978-3000505027, English, 136 pages, 2015, Germany

The strategical importance of databases for our society has been acknowledged since their explosion in size and the creation of tools to cross-search a number simultaneously. In our current scenario of big data as the technical infrastructure enabling or guiding most of our society operations, a critical reflection and a historical investigation can make a difference. This is a small but rich publication which extends the content of an exhibition (curated by Lena Brüggemann and Hannah Sieben), workshop and symposium with the same name, which took place at D21 Kunstraum and sublab hackerspace in Leipzig. It includes interviews with the artists (Francis Hunger, Kernel, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Sebastian Schmieg, Jonas Lund and Johannes P Osterhoff), reports from the workshops (with Heath Bunting and WaiWai), and especially two essays by Francis Hunger, again, and Marcus Burkhardt. These essays constitute an added value, providing an extended account of databases’ historical development, informing the reader about a strategic past that is often overlooked. Another quite popular position among the involved artists is making the database “visible”, or being aware of its contemporary structures and features, and consequently playing with the single person configuration within these data structures, and its consequent visible or invisible identity. Symbolically printing a minimal name index on the cover, this publication is also freely downloadable as a pdf.