Julie De Kezel + Jing Zhang: Harvest
21. November – 2. Dezember 2021
The work »Harvest« establishes a relationship between the traditional collection of biological substances and the infinite, non-visible harvest of digital data on the net, which is transformed into meta-data. »Data Farming« aims to return the digital harvest to users.
In addition to »Data Farming«, we are trying to be the collectors of every grain of our reality. Materiality has found its way into the virtual world, creating an endless storage of possibilities. A human brain has no way to expand its memory, so we rely on the collected pieces in our computer/phone. If a file is lost or fried, we are left with a blurry image, a memory, or nothing at all.
Silicon Valley’s smart and free online services are programmed to collect data. From this accumulation arises a data shadow that gives information about our lived interests and secret preferences. Our »digital twin« predicts our future actions. Big data farms compute our desires before we even become aware of them ourselves. »We are the livestock, we are being farmed. Google and Facebook are sifting and extracting information from us while we are busy with their sparkling toys« says digital activist Aral Balkan. »They rent access to this to their real customers«. (Balkan, 2019) The market value of influencers is measured by thousands of clicks, likes and comments. The hard neo-liberal daily routine of publicly lived ideal individuality has made burnout on YouTube and Instagram notorious and turned online meditation into a new mass phenomenon. »This is all I ever wanted, and why the fuck am I so fucking unhappy? It doesn’t make sense!« swore YouTuber ElleOfTheMills shortly after she had cracked the one million subscriptions mark with her online coming-out and then took a break, offline.
BIG D@T@! BIG MON€Y!, Leipzig, HALLE 14, 2020 (Extract from the press release)
Julie De Kezel (1995, Ghent)
Enter the realm, 2021
As I harvest the landscape of Munich in my mind I picture a virtual self portrait ›my digital twin‹ clothed in a hand made costume, dancing into the Pre-Alps of Bavaria. The clothing relates to my families big collection of historical clothing and other curiosa which I mixed in a setting inspired by the so many virtual reality meeting-points such as VR-chat.
She kindly invites you to join her in the sunny field.
VFX Landscape: Glenn De Cock; VFX 3D-portrait: Arno Ringoet
As I moved to Munich I started analysing and collecting pieces of nature (moss, stones, sticks, nuts etc.). After a while I transformed my impressions into a landscape/installation mixed with the actual collected objects, the landscapes are hosted by creatures made out of salt dough which I imagine living there. Since the first landscape created in my residence at the zimmer-frei project, I continued to build on my impression and as the nature changes so does the installation. A virtual pond turns into moss covered in fake snow and is now turned into a fall coat overgrown with autumn crocuses laying on a bed of hay. The coat is made with new pieces plus elements of previous installation and will be deconstructed to serve the next landscape to come.
Jing Zhang (1999, Beijing)
Temple of Memories, 2021
Database storages our memories in a perfectionistic way – in pixels, in decibels, in millimeters. We measure everything in fear of losing memory and deny the fact that our memory could also be blurry and distanced. In the triptych I chose the temple of heaven in Beijing as a starting point: a blurry childhood memory which I later combined with many other images from the database with the help of an AI-Glitch generator. The four branches with creatures resting on them symbolize the four dragon-well pillars inside the temple. I imagine this is how my memory in a digital space should look like: blended with other images and memories, out of shape and form.
The mutation is digital. I distorted/liquified the image of a normal butterfly to create a glitchy effect. I wanted them to have a physical body to imitate the real butterflies, so I embroidered them with yarn. My intention is to show that even a mistake or an error has a beauty within, regardless of a glitch or a mutation, digital or natural.