About the Project
ELEVATOR PITCH (SM)
Oublie/Trouve is a physical & digital system created to explore and interrogate our current positivist computing culture by proposing a poetic version of sensor-aided data collection and data display.
The context-ignoring, surveillance-enabling beliefs and behavior of contemporary computing culture is the direct result of its origins in nineteenth century mathematics and twentieth century militaries — and the definition of information that proceeds from these. Using standard sensors and the basic form of data visualization but nonstandard content — amorphous, incomplete, layered memory — Oublié/Trouvé embodies a counter-theory of information and thereby dangles imaginative threads to artists and other observers of computing culture.
Our current conception of information — as a set of contextless, dispassionate truths that can be transported across distance and medium and shuffled indiscriminately without change — is the product of nineteenth-century concepts of mathematical perfectibility and twentieth-century cybernetic concepts of command and control. It is also the source of beliefs about machines and technical teleology that facilitate anti-human developments, such as the continued production of surveillance devices in the name of progress. One way to denaturalize and counteract it is to create prototypes of what we want to see in the world and thereby shift the cultural imagination. Oublié/trouvé is one such attempt, using the stereoscopic memory concepts Roger Shattuck locates in A la recherche du temps perdu as inspiration for a hardware/software system. Using standard sensors and the basic form of data visualization but nonstandard content — amorphous, incomplete, layered memory — the system embodies a counter-theory of information. The project’s effectiveness is evaluated according to phenomenological methodologies, in particular active reflection from a number of perspectives: designer, developer, manufacturer, and participant.