Conspicuous Casualties

An online exhibition entitled 'Panic in Detroit' presents five works by San Francisco-based artist Shane Carroll that visualize data related to current US military actions. Culling from a variety of news sources and RSS feeds, Carroll's works ponder whether 'the staggering amount of data available to citizens in a wired society [can] be distilled and set in motion in ways that reveal essential aspects of that data.' Implied in this trajectory is the notion that there is a reciprocal relationship between policy, violence, and the data points that represent both. The public's consumption of war machine propaganda and mass-mediated representations of global issues is also put on display, as in 'PR redux,' which explores 'democracy as product,' in its survey of news coverage of the Iran 'crisis.' While many 'data visualization' art projects make their essential subject secondary, Carroll's illustrations employ multiple strategies to outline similar sad details. For instance, 'Home Front' subtly 'reveals US military casualties in Iraq by State,' while 'March 03' uses XML feeds, more elaborately, to 'drive the animation of discrete units to show each casualty, the sweep of each month and the cumulative effect.' The show will be hosted online by SF's TART Gallery, through August 24. - Marisa Olson