Data Steel (Ostrava, 2015)

DATA STEEL by Michael Bielicky & Kamila B. Richter @ Colours of Ostrava 2015, produced by Sklenar Gallery

The masses of refugees on the way to Europe, but also Germany's unprecedented position in European and in global economic comparison elicits the phrase We can do it from Angela Merkel and makes headlines worldwide. In many places in Germany buildings are quickly rededicated and accommodations for the fleeing are created in no time - Munich Central Train Station briefly becomes a symbol of international solidarity when pictures of warmly received trains of fleeing but visibly grateful mothers and children can be seen in the news. The belief that one can create a new bond from the needs of the fleeing is omnipresent. Data Steel has similar utopian inducements: in a former warehouse with a sandy underground and without a single window, a depressing atmosphere is disrupted by a steady airflow, due to the different tunnel entrances – alphanumeric characters dance and let the gloomy space appear in the visitors eye. Due to the constant effort of the eye to find fixed points in nothing, the angled space does not seem to follow any clear geometry. Dematerialized but with astonishing density, the algorithmically generated and moving language waves bring the dark space to life. Visitors to the Colors of Ostrava festival forget the hustle and bustle on the huge grounds of the Witkowitz ironworks and remain devoutly standing in the middle of the room. The professional consumer or prosumer, the captain of the digital ocean, who was the protagonist of the information flows in Columbus 2.0, is only allowed to visit again, and can only watch the information effortlessly occupy the space, while she or he, the captain tries to overcome her or his complacence and tries to locate the data leak, the source of the homogeneous projection in which he finds himself thrown into. However, due to the angled hall, the projection cannot possibly come from a single projector lens: after Columbus 2.0, this is the beginning of the Data Dybbuk-series, albeit under a different name. Data Dybbuk always highlights the data stream as an omnipresent, universal and neutral force between us, no matter how aware we are of it. While the growing connection between people and technology seems natural, events of connection between different cultures and signs of the humanitarian duty to help those in need are still material for breaking news.

Computer, projector, software: a specially programmed custom made Java-based text editor of just over 0.4 MB generates language waves in an infinite loop, whereby the angles of the movements, the vectors of the movements, and many other settings can be programmed steplessly in the decimal range. The text that appears is also entered in the editor.

Paul Kenig