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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathCollective Bodies
Motion and Rest (Campbell, Jim), 2002

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computational forms to a utopian discourse of collectivity, using Vertov’s «Man with a Movie Camera» (1929). This film is the exemplary database art work because it is a compendium of images of urban life that include the phases of work and leisure of all classes from dawn to dusk and the stages of life from birth to death, as well as all the stages of film production and exhibition and a narrative text, namely, the story of a day in the life of a city and how a film, the one we are seeing, is made. The utopian aims of this film are what infuse and retrospectively charge the notion of the «database» with values that are too flattering, considering the complex and ambiguous links of computational forms with biopolitical aims of domination. Meanwhile «database art» has been generalized to apply to all collective forms. However, the «database» as a computational form just as or even more likely to serve biopolitical aims of commercial exchange or corporate and governmental surveillance, i.e. Haraway’s «informatics of domination,» than to serve the public interest. Database art» as an actual computational form is but a subset of art works that deal with collectivity and individuality in a wide variety


of formal manifestations. In fact, the extent of art that addresses collectivity and the wide range of its expression suggest the obsessive nature of the discourse and its significance for understanding and engaging emerging cultural forms. Specific pieces of art that explore different relations between technology and the personal and collective self discussed below are based on my own encounters and make no claim to be representative or comprehensive

Generic Symbols: Motion, Individual and Collective: Jim Campbell

How do many become one? How can one signify human beings as a collectivity? Jim Campbell’s «Motion and Rest» (2002) is a series of six gridded LED displays of 768 evenly spaced red LED lights on black panels. Each grid displays a silent loop of a different solitary walker that to me evokes without entirely resembling the generic symbol of a pedestrian in a walk/don’t walk sign in some countries. The look of the display resembles the dot matrix of television and before that, the halftones of photography in print, an early means of abstracting pictorial elements into units. Dividing an image into a

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