Katherine Behar: Data’s Entry
Pera Museum presented Katherine Behar: Data’s Entry, the first museum survey exhibition of this New York-based artist who moves fluidly between sculpture, performance, video, and writing. Behar is drawn to the often confounding—and sometimes rebellious—ways that people and technologies manage to coexist in digital labor. Curated by Fatma Çolakoğlu and Ulya Soley, the works in Data’s Entry showed how working bodies can defy repetitive drudgery: user interfaces fail to fully script human action, machines run amok rather than faithfully automating human labor, and algorithms are crippled by their own exacting logic. Instead of claiming special importance for human subjectivity, she seeked out solidarities between humans and nonhumans and finds in these connections unexpected traces of traditional gender, racial, and class dynamics.
In three new works inspired by the Suna and Inan Kıraç Foundation’s Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection, the artist challenged the metaphor of cloud computing, which suggested that data is atmospheric and weightless. Behar asks, how has our understanding of data perversely evolved to become all measure and no weight? Her animations depicted users of cloud computing swallowed in cloud-like growths. In the performance Data's Entry, performance artists Aslı Bostancı and Melih Kıraç must negotiated an impossible, unforgiving interface of QWERTY keyboard keys representing data's material presence in the mind-numbing work of data entry. The exhibition also included robotic vacuums doing the Roomba Rumba; the post-apocalyptic USB sculpture series, E-Waste; 3D-&&, in which a 3D printer grinds out Morse Code messages for a herd of computer mouses; and a selection of the artist’s parodic and poignant video works.