Encrypted networks, digital currencies, artificial intelligence, data harvesting, algorithmic biases, sentient machines—all are products of twenty-first-century data-based capitalism. The proliferation of information, and data’s nebulous modes of circulating and being processed, fundamentally shape daily life now. INFORMATION (Today) is a group show featuring contemporary artists seeking to unravel this phenomenon.
Intended as a loose response to the iconic INFORMATION show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, curated by Kynaston L. McShine in 1970, INFORMATION (Today) examines how contemporary artists deal with the relentless flow of information and data that deeply inflects our everyday. If MoMA’s exhibition was born from the late 1960s and early 1970s dawn of the “Information Age,” when advancements in new computing and communication technologies—and, with them, access to information—seemed suddenly on the rise, in the fifty-some years since, the ubiquity of access and “connectivity” has arguably lulled us into complacency with its flipside: ever more highly technologized forms of surveillance and the overexposure of our personal data. Exploring the myriad ways in which information signifies in our “post-truth” era, when data has so deeply infiltrated our daily lives—whether Instagram “likes,” COVID-19 infection rates, social-media-propelled election manipulation, carbon footprint measurement, or algorithmically driven profiling—such a show seems more urgent than ever.
INFORMATION (Today) features works by an international selection of artists loosely culled from the two generations since 1970—which is to say, born after the original INFORMATION exhibition, for whom the processing and formalizing of data is among the central tenets of their work. It includes a range of artistic positions, including recent work and new commissions in diverse media (from sculpture and painting, to video and performance, and from the undeniably material to the wholly immaterial), thus presenting an overview of some of the most promising and challenging artistic practices grappling with data, technology, and information today.
With American Artist, Alejandro Cesarco, Simon Denny, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Marguerite Humeau, Zhana Ivanova, Tobias Kaspar, Gabriel Kuri, Liu Chuang, Ima-Abasi Okon, Laura Owens, Trevor Paglen, Sondra Perry, Cameron Rowland, Sung Tieu, and Nora Turato, curated by Elena Filipovic.
INFORMATION (Today) is produced by Kunsthalle Basel in collaboration with the Astrup Fearnley Museet.
Installation view: INFORMATION (Today), Kunsthalle Basel, 2021, view on Marguerite Humeau, Riddles (Jaws), 2017–2021 (front) and Laura Owens, Untitled [SMS +41 79 807 86 34], 2021 (back). Photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel