From Dada to Data publication 2016/2017

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From Dada to Data

One hundred years ago, at the time of the Dada movement, the earth was home to some 1.8 billion people. The counter now stands at over 7 billion. This explosive growth of the world population has clear consequences for society. For the more people there are, the more ideas, the more knowledge, the more things — the more data! But views diverge on what ‘data’ actually means. There is something ambiguous about data: on the one hand it represents actual facts, what we know for sure; but at the same time it forms a kind of intangible reality that hides in ‘the cloud’, as we say nowadays. Because we cannot see this cloud and therefore can’t really get a grip on the data concealed there, the whole atmosphere surrounding data becomes rather mysterious. We are data.

The past is data, the future will become data. Data is order and data is chaos. That data triggers our imagination is a good reason to link data to Dada. And then it’s not just the linguistic similarity that reinforces this connection; it’s also the realisation that both Dada and Data are impermanent. We know that Dada had a strong connection with art, that it was a non-movement that occurred at the start of the systems driven world we inhabit today, surrounded by computers. And we know that Data is a consequence of that systems driven world. Dada wanted to derail the march of progress and to forget about the past. Data proclaims a future so massive that we can no longer say with certainty that humans will remain the most important beings on earth. In 30 years’ time we’ll have
2 billion people more, with all their things and images, or data. And what about art? What is the future of art? The human being is merging with the systems it created, and that process might well turn out to be the biggest work of art ever. We are Data.

This post presents a provocative manifesto that primarily challenges our creativity. After all, in 2016 we are still normal people with creative minds who like to express their own style, their own languages and fantasies, opinions and ideas. Although the influence of the systems has become palpable in artistic circles and networks, the artists, writers, thinkers and designers who contributed to this magazine seek to cling to their autonomy. They demonstrate the first manifestations of the merging of man and systems, but also point out interesting crashes and glitches; bumps in the road that can transform into artistic highlights. For now, we juxtapose the raw chunky data with facts and lists. The data contained in this magazine were conceived, processed and copied by people.
For people make data, and data makes people. We are Data.

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