Tega Brain represented at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Melbourne, curated by Miriam Kelly

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.
Friday 13 January 2023

Tega Brain, School of Art & Design PhD candidate, is currently showing work as part of exhibition Data Relations at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) Melbourne. The exhibition is curated by Miriam Kelly, School of Art & design alumna.

Data Relations brings together artist-led projects that lyrically wrestle with some of the key issues and challenges of our contemporary data-driven society. The exhibition includes major new commissions and site-specific installations by Australian and international artists and collectives who critically and speculatively engage with the ways in which the data economy and related technological developments manifest in inter-personal and wider social relationships.

The exhibition title is drawn from a text by Ulises Ali Mejias and Nick Couldry in which the authors outline ‘the new types of human relations that data as a potential commodity enables’, which they surmise will, in time, ‘become as naturalised as labour relations’. Beyond the technological mirage of abstraction, false neutrality and obfuscation, and of more data as the answer to the mysteries of predicting the future, are human-led decisions, with all their attendant hierarchies, biases and existing relations.

The works presented in Data Relations critically and poetically reflect on our contemporary data economy and techno-mediated relationships in ways that are profound, humorous, poetic and, at times, confronting. Concerns that impact all aspects of contemporary day to day life loom large. Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne hijack clickbait logic to elevate factual media discussions of the climate crisis. While a new work they have developed for ACCA’s Digital Wing probes the drivers and efficacy of the burgeoning carbon offset market. Zach Blas gazes into the crystal ball as the leitmotif of contemporary data science and big technology companies similarly obsessed with prediction and fantasy.

Addressing the lateral impacts of what Mimi Onuoha has coined ‘algorithmic violence’, her recent film proposes care as a salve in re-wiring the data cables that connect the globe. Lauren Lee McCarthy similarly engages with the ethics of human-informed and data-led decision making through long-term projects that test the limits of how much bodily autonomy we are prepared to relinquish to technological monitoring and control. Winnie Soon considers the power of visibility and invisibility within censored datasets and machine learning. While Machine Listening’s audio assemblage of semi-fictional tales and speculative scenes explores how language and speech become a new form of ‘computational theatre’ within the field of machine learning.

Whilst not professing definitive answers or alternatives, the works in Data Relations are conversation starters, by artists who encourage speculative consideration of the status of data within contemporary culture, the relational implications of the expanding data economy, and the social and cultural impact of Artificial Intelligence.

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Updated:  13 January 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications