participating artist of the EXHIBITION “the shape of things to come”,
Port Journey Meeting 2016
Tim Schwartz (b. 1981 Boston, Massachusetts) is a Los Angeles-based artist, technologist, and activist who makes works of art focused on technology, information, privacy, and how our culture absorbs changes in these areas. He received a BA in Physics from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. Schwartz has spent the last five years investigating what is lost as archives become digital. In 2010, he developed technology to help reunite missing people affected by the earthquake in Haiti and now organizes a group focused on family reunification after disasters.
“[He] makes his playful data mashups into sculptures using retired gadgets… Like a field scientist of the information age, Schwartz filters an overwhelming amount of data through the intuitive logic of old-fashioned tools such as weather gauges, maps, and charts. Taken together, his works constitute a kind of contemporary natural history museum in which we are the subjects being examined.” –
Lamar Clarkson, Modern Painters Magazine
Data Transmissions is a series of letterpress prints of cell-phone screenshots, collected through an open call on Facebook, that reflects on the value of data and its processing. Tim Schwartz translated a selection of the submitted screenshots into letterpress through an arduous process of hand-setting metal type, cutting linoleum blocks, and using a Vandercook mechanical printer. He treated the personal data—voluntarily surrendered to the artist, although housed also in one or another corporate logs somewhere— with a process designed to similarly distribute information on a mass scale hundreds of years ago. Data is cheap today—we do not even always know that we are generating it and giving it away—but in another time, display and distribution of data was expensive.
Echoings is a series of essays, poems, and exchanges to be performed by an Amazon Echo using Alexa, a virtual assistant. Schwartz commissioned five writers to create new pieces for performance on the Amazon Echo. He asked them to live with the voice-controlled virtual helper, which records anything that starts with the word “Alexa,” and compose texts to be played back through the devices in the gallery. These pieces explore a number of responses to the Echo and the larger questions it raises about cohabitation with passive data-collection devices. Some consider the device as deity, flawed assistant, or miscommunicator. Others suggest that these passive devices influence human behavior quite strongly. In sum, both Data Transmissions and Echoings invite the viewer to reconsider the wealth of data generated and disseminated as a now-natural course of living our daily lives.
Included are new works by: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Sarah Blake, M. Carmen Lane, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Tim Schwartz, and RA Washington