Data Shop, ermetic data can


In the “Data Shop” installation, lots of colored tin cans are placed on shelves, similar to those normally used in supermarkets, perfectly ordered by colour in columns, as if they were encased in a structured matrix. The graphics on the boxes identify different contents, consisting of personal data of the artists downloaded from different online services. The red tin, Data Spam, contains those downloaded from google Takeout. In the green Data Salad, there are data extracted from credit card transactions. The blue one, Data Soup, collects data extrapolated from Facebook profiles. The conceptual operation made by the artistic duo Varvara & Mar clearly cites illustrious and irreverent symbolic operations. For example, in opposition to Life Sharing of 0100101110101101.ORG, in this case all the personal data are locked and made inaccessible rather than transparently available to all. The use of real personal data by artists, is also an explicit reference to the Merde d’Artist by Piero Manzoni: the hermetically closed boxes have value as they contain an appendix of the authors, physical in one case and digital in the other. But if the personal data that we give up now with lightness and habit, are like our DNA, what can be their value on a supermarket shelf? How to withdraw them from the market? What is their expiry date? Did the ability to extract them, store them on a hardware device and store them in an airtight box, make them really new to us? Or perhaps this obsessive ordered arrangement in anonymous shelves expresses a desperate aesthetic attempt to represent almost symbolic possession? Chiara Ciociola