Imagine All The Data...

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Databases, in one form or another, have become so ubiquitous in life that they permeate practically every conscious and unconscious activity. Just considering the personal data that is stored, retrieved and analyzed every time one makes a credit card purchase, obtains a drivers license, or checks out a library book, it is easy to imagine the vast catalogs of information that are often just below the visible surface of daily life. 'Database Imaginary,' a new exhibition at the Banff Centre's Walter Phillips Gallery, co-curated by international curators Sarah Cook and Steve Dietz, along with Gallery Director Anthony Kiendl, provides a range of works that envisions our relationship with the technological systems we have created to store and access information. The thirty-three works in 'Database Imaginary' are, not surprisingly, heavily influenced by the development of computers for compiling and analyzing data, including early works like Hans Haacke's 'Visitors' Profile' of 1971. But there is also a strong sense of material and spatial engagement in this collection. Through the exhibit's presentation of works that actively confront the countless points of contact between data and life, one can almost feel the pressure of metadata as it is tagged to our every experience. - Ryan Griffis