The combined advent of “mechanical turks” and paywalls, along with the various media reports about obscure data transactions, algorithms that connect people and businesses at or against their wishes, and the monitoring strategies which are invisible to many, has already created a myriad of new products and systems that monitor and influence our lives. This fact is a direct challenge to the idea that everyone can use Internet and digital media safely and equally. In an age in which computer technology has already shown its darker side, when optimisation is lord and master but quantity rules supreme to the detriment of diversity and quality, artists such as Constant Dullaart, Femke Herregraven, Erica Scourti and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez are embracing the new status quo. Their reaction to the often invisible but far-reaching changes is positive and opportunistic: they are taking matters into their own hands. This presentation “Algorithmic Rubbish: Daring to Defy Misfortune” – an automatically generated title – demonstrates how artists use and abuse, with great precision and humour, the mechanisms and strategies that large companies and governments secretly apply. Reminiscent of the conceptual art practice of, for example Hans Haacke and Marinus Boezem, the artworks presented offer a way out and expose something that tends to be invisible or secret for most people.
Annet Dekker is a curator and researcher. Currently she is researcher Digital Preservation at TATE, London, Visiting Lecturer and Research Fellow at London South Bank University & The Photographers’ Gallery, London, tutor at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut. She publishes widely on issues of digital art and preservation in international peer reviewed journals, books and magazines, and edited several publications. Previously she worked as Web curator for SKOR, was programme manager at Virtueel Platform, and head of exhibitions, education and artists-in-residence at the Netherlands Media Art Institute. In 2014 she completed her PhD on conserving net art at Goldsmiths University of London.