25 July 2005

While Tate Modern hosts the encyclopaedic Open Systems, charting how art first extended its reflexivity to the outside world, over in Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham Ellie Harrison has curated a touring exhibition, website and publication that slots the conceptualist avowal of the materiality of information into Walter Benjamin’s dictum about seeing the everyday as impenetrable and the impenetrable as everyday.

As Sarah Cook’s contextualising essay points out, ‘collection’ and ‘manipulation’ of data both present viable ways of hacking the minutiae of the over-examined life. Other touchstones for the project are the role of data harvesting in state and corporate control, the ‘counter-data’ of quixotic and mundane statistics and the new solipsistic public sphere of the blog and the online photo archive. 4 web projects include Kevin Carter’s babytalk linguistics package and Anders Bojen & Kristoffer Ørum’s jaw-droppingly expansive and off-kilter laundry detergent dΓ©rive: ‘In our laboratory we exchange our eyes for soap bubbles and they feel much better.’

Marina Vishmidt