November 3 - December 18, 2005
Co-curated by Anthony Kiendl, Director of Visual Arts and the Walter Philips Gallery; Sarah Cook, Curator of New Media, Baltic; and Steve Dietz, Banff International Curatorial Institute Fellow.
An international touring exhibition of art works that use databases to comment on their uses and to imagine unknown uses. Database Imaginary presents twenty-one art projects in a broad variety of old and new media by individual and teams of artists between 1971 and 2004.
The term "database" was only coined in the 1970s with the rise of automated office procedures. However, it is really only with the rise of computing and widespread access to vast quantities of organized information that the term has come to the fore in the popular imagination. Database Imaginary presents twenty-one art projects in a broad variety of old and new media, including newly commissioned works, made by individual and teams of artists between 1971 and 2004. Responsive to the 21st century, when databases have become ever-present, all the artists in Database Imaginary engage imaginatively with the organization of data through their use of aesthetic, conceptual, social and political strategies.
Databases structure our economy, our knowledge systems, our security. Yet these structures serve and are subject to multiple goals and agendas. Our practical experiences of databases in westernized societies suggest access not just to information about the world, but the world's access to information about us. We are the objects of databases: a phone number to telemarketers, a credit risk, a questionable border-crosser.
As artist and theorist Lev Manovich suggests, for such an ubiquitous cultural form, just as was the case with the automobile, skyscrapers, even perspective “ we need to imagine the possibilities of databases; to actively shape them and participate in how they are used to organize the world we live in. The artists and artworks in Database Imaginary warn, astound, and challenge us to understand database culture as a pervasive aspect of our contemporary environment and our lived experience. Databases present us with a series of choices. Artist Edward Poitras suggests such choices involve negotiating missing information, misinformation and new information. It is up to us to choose whether or not and how to engage.
The exhibition is co-organized by the Walter Phillips Gallery, the Banff Centre and The Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina Public Library, with financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology, and the Canada Council for the Arts.