© Gianni Wise, 2012-18

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2014 | Data Retention, Levels 2, 3 and 4 Fisher Library, University of Sydney
Silicon, plaster casting, clear resin, ethernet cabling, tie wire

The title gives it away really. Data Retention.

With the proliferation data networks the human mind always finds ways to ‘wire-up’ new connections between itself,
objects, ideas, events and the world. I use wires and books as a form of readymade art which works as a prop for
memory. Objects external to the mind can trigger memory and make connections. I am interested in this interplay
between mind and external world. When Umberto Ecco claimed in the Name of The Rose (1988): “Wanting
connections, we found connections always, everywhere, and between everything” he refers to a world 'exploding' in
a whirling network of interrelationships where everything (appears to) point to everything else, where everything
explains everything else.
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Curator’s Statement:
Gianni Wise’s installation has its menacing aspects. The title, ‘Data Retention’, might well refer to current
government policies regarding the retention of metadata – the harvesting from telecommunications networks of
personal information by law enforcement agencies – ostensibly to protect the public from acts of terrorism. Indeed,
the installation itself displays a number of sinister ‘packages’. Perhaps they hold data. But they also disturbingly
resemble IEDs (or ‘improvised explosive devices’). The ‘connections’ Wise refers to carry the potential to penetrate
deep into our personal lives, challenging privacy and potentially violating fundamental rights. In this sense, the
installation reflects on the threat of data retention exposing our personal lives ‘like an open book’. Wise’s use of
ambiguously wired devices may equally suggest the mind’s desire to invent ‘paranoid’ connections where there are
none.
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