Center of Doubt at Riga Biennial, Riga, Latvia, 2018

Center of Doubt

 

Artist research project
1 to 9 screen video installation
2012 - 2018

 

 

 

Center of Doubt is a long-term artistic research project. The aim of the project is to explore and visualize the disappearance and reappearance of network technology, its infrastructure and representation. Center of Doubt is a collection of visual traces depicting the data industry of our times.


Two different approaches provide insight into the complicated and somehow opaque nature of the topic of data centers and (tele)communication technologies: on the one hand, it is an investigation about the materiality and the local circumstances of the infrastructure; while, on the other hand an attempt to offer an alternative visual representation on the issues connected to information technology, which are mainly presented as ´cloudy´ rhetoric and visuals in advertisement; science-fiction images; or overdriven military language.


The appearance of the commercial ‘cloud computing’, or more precisely the data centers and their supporting infrastructure, is depicted as a turning point of a new era of centralized Internet: big corporations are in a competition to gain a fundamental status for their software and hardware, acting as a basic informational layer.

Center of Doubt has been presented in various forms - as a talk/lecture and publication, as one to nine screen installation or spatial installation with prints, as a videoscreening.

 


Center of Doubt is a combination

of 9 video works:


1. Crystal Travels
2. Crystal Computing

(Google. Inc., St. Ghislain)
3. High-Tech-Fort-Knox
4. Formation of Clouds
5. ECHELON
6. Die Grenze zwischen

Morgen und Gestern
7. Patent Application Data
8. Mysterious Building
9. BTC.EE

 

 

 

Formation of Clouds

 

FullHD video, 06:28 min

2014/2018

 

 

The Formation of Clouds depicts the formation of data centers through satellite images. They are owned by the world’s leading digital companies like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon.


The activities of these global network companies lead to highly centralized Internet access. Formation of Clouds reveals the competition between
companies to gain the best possible position in running the basic underlying informational infrastructure of everyday life.

Center of Doubt at Monitoring in Kunstverein Kassel, Germany, 2015

High - Tech - Fort - Knox

 

FullHD video, 09:38 min

2015/2018

 

 

Our customers now have a ‘High-Tech Fort Knox’ from a cloud provider they trust fully.
Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom at the opening ceremony of the data center


A video work is based on research about building processes of T-Systems (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom) data center located in the small city Biere in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. By depicting various stages of the building, which were being shot over the course of a year and a half, its intent is to demystify representational images of information networks.

 

The complex is located nearby former farmlands, which refers to changes in industry - advertised as industry 4.0. - where everything is centred on data. The work culminates with the opening ceremony of the complex - a typical business event - in the presence of Telekom’s CEO and the former Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, among others. As the quote from theceremony clearly states: data is the center of the new economy, which needs to be secured.

Center of Doubt at Monitoring in Kunstverein Kassel, Germany, 2015

ECHELON

 

One to four screen video installation

FullHD

2015

 

 

The work is based on satellite images captured roughly from 2000 to the present. It depicts various so-called SIGINT (signals intelligence) stations that serve the interception and the collection and analysis of electronic signals, as for example commercial and other satellite communication.


The majority of these facilities are part of the ECHELON network, others belong to competing powers like China or Russia. Most of its technology allows commercial and other satellite communications to be intercepted. These stations are operated by five nations: the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand - and their allies, which have signed the UKUSA Agreement.


The network was created in the early 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War. Nowadays, the stations have different intelligence targets.

ECHELON at Operation Mindfuck, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany, 2015

Center of Doubt Performative Version in European Convention Center Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2017

Patent Application Data

 

FullHD video, 08:05 min

2015 / 2018

 

 

The work is an attempt to go beyond the typical visual representation of data centres - blinking lights, cables, large sterile halls full of server racks. The patent drawings of data centres and its various processes provide a purified image that refers to the most important operations. Flowcharts, electrical schemes and machine drawings draw attention to primary goals of data processing - to order and optimize the messy physical world.

Center of Doubt at solo exhibition in Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg, Germany, 2015

Mysterious Building

 

FullHD video, 06:33 min

2018

 

 

The video is compiled of entries found in one of the mystery forums in internet and footage filmed on the site. On the one hand it shows financial industry´s use of data centers, and on the other it
offers a humorous balance to the whole installation.

Center of Doubt at Open Codes in ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2017