Explorations of the political nature of data have an interesting history in art. In the 1970s, the artist Hans Haacke tested the neutrality of seemingly raw information through an ongoing series of experiments into the nature of systems, eventually getting a bland series of architectural photographs and real estate charts deemed too politically controversial to exhibit in 1971. While some have concluded from such works that all information is therefore flexible enough to support any political statement, others see the need to further explore the invisible systems of knowledge production. Exxonsecrets.org, a new website, represents one such attempt at the latter. Created by artists/designers Josh On and Amy Balkin for Greenpeace, Exxonsecrets starts where On's earlier project They Rule left off. Like They Rule, Exxonsecrets allows visitors to create interactive, expandable maps of organizations and individuals, but here is focused and concentrated on a more specific set of data - the financial connections between Exxon-Mobile and attempts to discredit the theory of human induced global warming. Of course, the creators of Exxonsecrets want you to question the sources of their information, which, since this is the web can be done with the click of a finger. - Ryan Griffis
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by Johnny Magdaleno on Jul 15th, 2014