Drowning in a Sea of Data analyses the current state of generalised anxiety and disorientation. Development in digital technologies triggered the ongoing acceleration of information flows, altering previous regimes of visibility and control, bringing multiple frameworks to the front and reshaping the way reality is understood.
Without providing a solid replacement for the narratives that have traditionally organised society, this new crowd-sourced representational model constitutes a porous environment in permanent reconfiguration where truth has been defused and fiction competes with reality.
In a shift whose impacts are yet to be fully understood, instability has become a defining feature of our time.
Extracting and harvesting attention for profit, this liquid context, individually transparent and systemically opaque, translates into feelings of angst and disquiet that often materialise in addictive, alienated, nihilist or paranoid attitudes. Framing subjectivity as a collectively embedded position, this project maps a number of perspectives which signal present dissonances and imagine alternative modes of becoming.
Drowning in a Sea of Data develops in three parallel and interconnected manners: as an exhibition, a performance programme and a reader. The exhibition displays work by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Pedro Barateiro, Emma Charles, June Crespo, GIRLISONFIRE (Monika Janulevičiūtė + Antanas Lučiūnas), Evan Ifekoya, Tomasz Kowalski, Nicolás Lamas, Pakui Hardware, Joanna Piotrowska, M Reme Silvestre, Sofía Reyes, James Richards + Leslie Thornton, and Clemens von Wedemeyer. Setting a fluid and polyphonic experience, the show looks into questions such as the impact and endurance of Cold War frameworks in the infrastructure of digital technology; the influence of algorithms and coding in social environments; dichotomies of confinement and freedom; dependency patterns and paranoid approaches to reality emerging from a non-stop engagement with technology; the concrete and immaterial conditions where bodies circulate; the combined regulating action of image, language and sound; the ephemeral character of the assigned functions and meanings of things; aurality as a means of overcoming dominant modes of expression and representation; association and poetry as a means of speculating new ways of communication; physical, biological and economical processes as metabolisms; and technology as an animist force shared by human and non-human beings.
João Laia (Curator and editor)
Alongside this exhibition, Drowning in a Sea of Data includes a reader and a performance programme.