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Data Fatigue

31st October - 15th December 2020

Morehshin Allahyari, Corey Hayman, Kumbirai Makumbe, Jonathan Monaghan and Richard Whitby

Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight

Data Fatigue is an exhibition exploring concepts of representation and capitalisation, within online and offline worlds, the media and daily life. The works on show consider ideas of identity and the commodification and colonisation of objects, people and places, alongside the hyper-consumerism of the present.

The exhibition takes its name from the term data exhaust; a digital trail of data that's generated as a by-product of your online actions and choices. The data created is unconventional and may not have an immediate use to the company who's collecting it. Data exhaust is composed of files generated by web browsers and their plug-ins, tracking and collecting secondary data. For example, monitoring how long your mouse cursor may have hovered over a specific link to a product, rather than which item you actually purchased.

Your own stream of data, or digital footprint, left behind as you navigate through the unlimited expanse of the internet, is the body of data that exists as a result of online actions that can in some way be traced back to you. Your personal footprint is broken down as active and passive data traces, with digital exhaust being made up of the latter.

The act of leaving a trail, one that cannot be erased or overridden, is present throughout the exhibited artworks. In Morehshin Allahyari's 2019 lecture performance, Physical Tactics for Digital Colonialism, the artist explores her research into Digital Colonialism, examining the tendency for information technologies to be deployed in ways that reproduce colonial power relations. Specifically, Allahyari presents how 3D printers and scanners are both used and misused in the production of endangered or lost artefacts within the Middle-East.

In Corey Hayman's 2019 video work Still Life (Trojan Sounds), the artist explores the lineage, and utilises the figure, of the animated children's TV character Rastamouse, to explore the continuous and ongoing commodification and capitalisation of Black British culture by companies and corporations, interrogating and examining problems which arise when representation and commodity structures collide. Out of the Abyss, Jonathan Monaghan's continuously looping 2018 film, combines excessively detailed CGI imagery from modern consumerism and the surveillance state with biblical symbols associated with the Apocalypse, to elicit anxieties about an increasingly uncertain future.

Kumbirai Makumbe's short 2019 film Evo's Turn explores ideas surrounding the link between creator and creation, looking at how an artificial intelligence processes, understands and confronts what it means to be a Black person in today's society. The final artwork in the exhibition, The Lost Ones by Richard Whitby, is a hauntingly claustrophobic film from 2019, offering a nightmarish look at the complex, overly bureaucratic, immigration system in the UK. The work exemplifies the underlying, violent networks that continue to proliferate both within the UK immigration system and any scheme that purports to support the underclass and underrepresented.

The exhibition takes the form of an interactive point and click adventure game, where audience members progress through the show by interacting with several web pages, following a trail of breadcrumbs and exhaust fumes, unlocking new areas to discover and digitally unearth the exhibited artworks. This is a fundamental part of the experience of the exhibition. The exhibition is best viewed on desktop.

The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.

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The exhibition marks the beginning of a six month program consisting of four online exhibitions, culminating in a physical book and online panel discussion. Each exhibition is connected by the overarching theme of Networks, exposing and exploring the underlying architecture of our daily lives, investigating the social, political, digital and hierarchical networks that we reside within.

The program opens in October 2020, ends in April 2021 and is supported by Arts Council England.

Unlike our previous online exhibitions, which can be viewed in our archive​, the four online exhibitions in the Arts Council funded project will not be viewable after the exhibition dates. This exhibition is now closed.

Morehshin Allahyari is an artist, activist, writer, and educator. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her work deals with the political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day. She thinks about technology as a philosophical toolset to reflect on objects and as a poetic means to document our personal and collective lives and struggles in the 21st century. Morehshin is the co-author of The 3D Additivist Cookbook in collaboration with writer/artist Daniel Rourke. Morehshin has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops around the world including Venice Biennale di Archittectura, New Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Pompidou Center, Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Tate Modern, Queens Museum, Pori Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, and Museum für Angewandte Kunst. She has been an artist in residence at BANFF Centre (2013), Carnegie Mellon University’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (2015), Autodesk Pier9 Workshop in San Francisco (2015), the Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research in association with Transmediale, Berlin (2016), Eyebeam’s one year Research Residency (2016-2017) in NYC, Pioneer Works (2018), and Harvest Works (2018). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, Wired, National Public Radio, Parkett Art Magazine, Frieze, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Al Jazeera, among others.

Corey Hayman is an artist born in 1990 and holds an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths University (g. 2018). Lives and works in London. Hayman’s work centres around racial and social identity, with its exploration and realisation covering a wide-range of media, from photography and video, to documentation and drawing. Her work is borne out of primary experiences with found materials/subject matter in discourses surrounding class, race, gender and the envelopment of these factors in socio-political, economic and cultural experiences. Particular discourses of interest to her include; Afro-pessimism, Glissant’s right to ‘Opacity’ and Crenshaw’s intersectionality (the matrix of co-dependent oppressive categories; race, class, gender and the socio-political effect of these ‘intersections’).

Kumbirai Makumbe currently takes form as a London based artist and designer who believes in the transmutation of the intangible yet experiential. They are enticed by the materiality of digitally generated matter with their work residing at the intersection of art, technology, and the ethereal. They place significant effort into speculative explorations of alternative modes of being and thinking that could negate exclusionary acts and ideologies. Their work continually interrogates the multi-dimensionality of Blackness, exclusionary acts, and notions of inclusion, ‘in-betweenness’, ‘caring’ and transcendence. They are situation-dependent, transform & metamorphose to ceaselessly take on various forms and maneuver through a diverse range of spaces.

Jonathan Monaghan is an artist working across a range of media, including prints, sculpture and computer animated video, to produce otherworldly objects and narratives. Drawing on wide-ranging sources, such as historical artworks and science fiction, his highly-crafted and fantastical pieces uncover subconscious anxieties associated with technology and consumerism. Past exhibitions include The Sundance Film Festival, The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, The Frist Art Museum in Nashville, and The Palais de Tokyo in Paris. His work has been featured in several media outlets including The New York Times, Vogue, BOMB Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Village Voice. He lives and works in Washington D.C.


Richard Whitby (b. Liverpool 1984, works London) makes videos and performances, and writes. He studied at Wimbledon College of Art and the Slade and took part in the LUX Associate Artists Programme in 2012/13. He has a PhD in Humanities and Cultural Studies from the London Consortium. In 2012 he produced a solo show with the Royal Standard, Liverpool and has since worked with Focal Point Gallery (2013) and the Bluecoat (2014). In 2015 he completed residencies with CCA Glasgow and Seoul Museum of Art. His book The Jump Room was published by The Old Waterworks in 2018. Richard is a member of the National Executive Committee for Artists’ Union England.

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