Data Collection

2010 | photography , installation , community engagement , featured , documentary

Data Collection was produced for the Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Ontario. The project involved photographing the various identification cards (driver’s licenses, student cards, gym memberships, bankcards, credit cards, etc.) carried by over 100 individuals. The images were exhibited on a 1:1 scale such that all personal information contained on the cards was legible to gallery visitors; however, participants were permitted to remove any cards that they felt uncomfortable with having on display. The removed cards were indicated through replacement with a black “withheld” placeholder card. Beyond functioning as a simple, and very reductive, portrait of these individuals, the project draws attention to the power and risks associated with these cards—and ideally the databases behind the cards as well. Data Collection works to challenge the typical notion of privacy—to keep things secret and hidden away—and instead presents an idea of privacy that allows the individual to retain control over what data is collected, how it is used and who is given access.

(100 images in the series - 12.5” x 9” archival pigments prints mounted on Sintra)

Special thanks to Andrew Clement, Joseph Ferenbok and Karen Smith at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Information.

Links: Artist Statement