Datament, a monumental installation to be presented at the Polish Pavilion for the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, will allow visitors to experience data in its ‘physical’ form. The space of the pavilion will be filled with the frames of four life-size houses. These seemingly chaotic and absurd structures faithfully reproduce the source data. The exhibition is intended as a starting point for a discussion about how, while new technologies may not offer us ready-made solutions, they can help us ask better questions.
In architecture, urbanism and spatial planning, statistical data analysis and the use of algorithms in design are having a significant impact on how we live now and will in the future. However, we are less and less concerned with raw data. Information processed with new technologies creates a distorted picture of reality. Based on this digital illusion, we make decisions with very real consequences.
At the Polish Pavilion, the viewer will have the opportunity to experience data in its ‘physical’ form. The impressive installation will reproduce the spatial forms of houses from four countries on a 1:1 scale. Made up of almost two thousand metres of coloured steel profiles, the structures are based on averaged, generalised data on the shape, size and functional layout of houses in different geographical zones. The countries have been selected on the basis of how much statistical data they produce and collect. The installation faithfully reflects this information, but it has no bearing on the actual housing situation in the places from which the information is derived. A tool that was supposed to bring order to reality becomes a source of error.
Datament is the record of a dialogue between an artist and an architect. Anna Barlik works in visual art, local contexts, colour and composition. Marcin Strzała is an architect who explores the relationship between digital data and their physical manifestation in design. Together with curator Jacek Sosnowski, they have developed a structure based on digital data analysis. The title’s neologism, Datament, conveys the idea of the ubiquitous ‘data establishment’ that is constantly shaping the reality in which we live, create and dwell. “We share a world with data. Believing in their infallibility, we let algorithms calculate and design our houses and cities. However, without a sensitive and conscious designer, digitally processed data can create distorted solutions, such as those presented in the Polish Pavilion,” say the creators of the installation.
Instagram of Datament: instagram.com/datament.project
artist: Anna Barlik
architect: Marcin Strzała
Poland’s participation in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
exhibition partner: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
collaboration: Polish Institute in Rome