Cover image of the review
Tega Brain and Sam Lavigne, Synthetic Messenger 2021, installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Andrew Curtis

Data Relations

11 Mar 2023
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) 10 Dec - 19 Mar 2023

Facing the usual difficulty of how to begin writing, I ask ChatGPT for advice on reviewing ACCA’s exhibition Data Relations. I ask: what would you write? ChatGPT suggests this:

As we navigate an increasingly digital world, where does humanity end and technology begin? The exhibition Data Relations at the Museum of Contemporary Art (sic) explores this question through the work of several cutting-edge artists who use data as a medium to question our relationship with technology … Data Relations offers a thought-provoking look at the blurred lines between the digital and the physical. This show is not to be missed for anyone interested in the intersection of art and technology.

It’s cliché. Chances are if you’ve been online in any kind of subcultural or youthful space you would have noticed that “the intersection of art and technology” (not to mention “liminal space”) has become a bit of a meme. Since ChatGPT is trained, in part, on an enormous amount of data scraped from the internet, what ChatGPT tells us is indicative of a popular discourse. “The intersection of art and technology” and the “blurred lines between digital and physical” are repeated dichotomies, buzzword refrains and vaguery now devoid of meaning. I was eager to see Data Relations—its line-up features artists I’ve long admired—but I was concerned that the curatorial framing would slip into the buzzy territory ChatGPT demonstrates.

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.