Small Data is composed of a series of salvaged electronic devices (old cell phones, broken computer screens and printers, cracked hard discs, etc.), onto which an overhead projection is cast. The projections, precisely aimed at the devices, animate and seemingly give new life to the abandoned technologies. The artist works like an archeologist, pulling out the found items from piles of discarded materials in junkyards and recycling centers (veritable cemeteries for consumer electronics) and organizes them on shelves as if they were fragile remnants of a bygone era.
The animations attempt to capture our complex and sometimes ambivalent relationship with consumer electronics. Buying the latest gadget makes us feel like sophisticated citizens of the digital age. Yet these technologies break down or are rendered obsolete at a fast pace. Propped on shelves, the decaying technologies of Small Data present themselves as contemporary still lives, insidious reminders of our own aging process and inevitable expiration date.
Issues related to memory and identity are explored in this group of artworks. As communication tools with the outside world, and as repositories for so many of our thoughts, we acquire a very intimate relationship with the technological devices present in the artworks. Haunted by their past, the artist attempts to reveal memories, both personal and collective, that seem trapped within, mementos of a time when they had fully functional lives and served us well.
Small Data explores the life and death of consumer electronics, and how when we discard our devices, we are throwing out a small part of ourselves. The title of the exhibition alludes to Big Data, referring to the large amounts of private information about people’s habits and personal lives that corporations and governments are storing. Canogar offers an alternative and more intimate view of the technologies that dominates our society.
Photo and video credit: Daniel Canogar, Sofía Montenegro, John Berens, Martha Williams, bitforms Gallery.