The exhibition “The Body Politics of Data” showcases the production of artistic research featuring individual and collaborative projects that explore the importance of data in relation to our bodies.

From online companies, tech corporations, healthcare services to governments – your data is wanted! 

The relevance of reconsidering how bodies are structuring their data or being structured by data are increasingly important. The social, financial and political value is accumulating in a way that often benefits governments and corporations rather than individuals or communities, and in turn creating new forms of social and personal risk. Terms such as ‘big data’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ are commonly conceptualised and crafted as ‘body-less’ and technical processes. I challenge this through my practice and research by literally bringing them back into view.

The exhibition featured a series of artistic research projects that explore the bodies behind big data: from smartphone users and gaming children trading their data for services to pregnant mums and midwives feeding healthcare databases their numbers. While data is often conceptualised as ‘body-less,’ the labours behind data show that bodies must be taken into account.The research explores how feminist art practice can inform new ways of thinking about the enormous amounts of data that we produce on a daily basis by shifting the focus from what data tells us to the conditions under which it is made. The artworks bring out new foci on the intersections of healing, control and unknowing to conceptualise the bodily and social costs underlying digital ecologies.

The show features work informed by concepts of maintenance and care. From drawing experiments, data collages, body maps to care installations, the exhibition brings experimental engagements, collaborations and performative artworks, ushering the social costs and risks of data production to the fore. By bringing bodies back into view, the works offer new perspectives on how relations between bodies, machines, corporations and governments are reconfigured in digital society.

Collaborations & Partners

The exhibits showcased were a series of collaborative projects developed during my PhD research. The experiment Cuppa Data (2016) from the project Data Buffet: All You Can Input (2016) was created with Cliff Hammett, artist and researcher, working under Autonomous Tech Fetish (ATF), showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Commodities (2016). 

The projects on maternity and data were developed with Loes Bogers, maker and researcher, working under the Body Recovery Unit, and include The National Catalogue of Savings Opportunities (2017), the film Diagnostics (2017) and Data Collage (2018) workshop exhibited at Neotopia, Art Centre Nabi (2017), FabFest London (2018) and Late Tate Britain (2019) and supported by Visual Methodologies Collective (NL). The project was generously supported by those working in public health, including the staff at the Lewisham maternity ward and members of Maternity Voices Partnership. Activist and community organiser Toyin Adeyinka is the voice in the artwork Accumulative Care (2018). Workshop series and events have taken place at the Common House with members of ATF, and Life Drawing The Attention Theft (2019) was hosted by the Deptford Cinema. 

The exhibition show was produced in collaboration with: 

Anila Ladwa curator and producer 

Anika Tabachnick curating assistant

Renee Carmichael designer

And the amazing support of those little and big helpers around me. 

PhD & Acknowledgements

The PhD was supervised by Dr. Margherita Sprio and Dr. Tom Corby and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council PhD scholarship with additional grants to support the artistic practice from A-N Artist Development Bursary, Fran Trust Travel Bursary, Global Engagement Development Fund and Westminster 125 Fund. 

Finally, a big shout out to Renee, Moni, Pernille Martiny Modvig, Jess, Cliff, Guest 6772, Loes, Anne-Marie Hempstead, Emilie Giles, Guest 3421, Tom Wills, Anika, Dave, Jesper, Guest 2858, Line Marie Thorsen, Yvonne Bogers-Kreffer, Henriette, Sophie Hope, Mirkonik, Morten and Elisabeth, Catrina and Matthew, Silvia Villiger, Nadja Tham, Barbara RB, Teifun2, Liisa and Per, Guest 0001, Gareth Foote, Guest 2055, Hannah Lynes, Toyin, Anila, Andre & Onsu Wegner, Muhammed Dave, Wong Joon Ian, Guest 0922, Katrina and Timo, Guest 8845 for backing the kickstarter campaign to fund the exhibition. 

EXHIBITION DETAILS

“Body Politics of Data” by Alexandra Jønsson

Private view:  Friday 24 January 2020 5-8pm

Dates: 25 January – 7 February

London Gallery West, University at Westminster Watford Road, Northwick Park Roundabout, Harrow HA1 3TP

Booking of guided tour: ajonssonstudio [at] gmail.com

More Info about the gallery: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/visit-us/london-gallery-west


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