Spending Quality Time With My Quantified Self at TENT

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Artists: Kate Cooper, Momu & No Es, Alexandra Navratil, Anni Puolakka, Jenna Sutela, Milos Trakilovic, Maki Ueda, Amy Suo Wu, Anna Zett

Exhibition title: Spending Quality Time With My Quantified Self 

Curated by: Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk and Jesse van Oosten

Venue: TENT, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Date: January 11 – April 10, 2016

Photography: Sander van Wettum, images copyright and courtesy of the artists and TENT

Digital technology is an increasingly inextricable part of our everyday lives. We use wearable monitoring devices and digital extensions to gather data about our health, condition and performance. Consequently, the human body is ever more frequently and closely connected to digital media and the associated logic of codes and algorithms that controls life in an advanced capitalist society. The influence of the digital world is no longer confined to our online activities; it is now deeply entrenched in our everyday private, working and physical lives.

This hybrid world, in which digital and physical forms of existence coincide, is the field addressed by the exhibition Spending Quality Time with My Quantified Self. Our relationship with technology is ever more intimate and pervasive: to preserve or enhance our sense of wellbeing, we obsessively measure, monitor and check our bodily condition and health. We constantly use apps and digital structures to gauge and share the effects and results in terms of sporting performance, eating patterns, sleep rhythms, and so forth – all areas that exist between the surface of our physical being, our own perceptions and the relatively subjective interpretation of them. In a world ever more deeply permeated by calculations, data, information and software-driven infrastructures, the ‘quantified self’ can be seen as symptomatic of our cursory and speeded-up sense of time and priorities. Our bodies and digital identities have become part of an economy of clicks, tracks, traces and likes, in which powerful public and private corporations turn the content and data voluntarily placed on user-generated content platforms into financial profit.

The question is whether this binary interaction between the human body and digital technology effectively results in more insightful and qualitative self-knowledge and identity-formation. Digital extensions and prostheses for the human body often offer solutions for measurable facets of day-to-day existence, but what areas lie beyond the borders of the quantifiable and codifiable? Spending Quality Time with My Quantified Selfis a group exhibition presenting a number of artistic positions in which the human condition, bodily development and the physical body to which we are inescapably bound are explored in relation to the technological and economic systems of which they are part. The participating artists suggest forms of wellbeing, identity construction and self-realisation that escape the persistent imperative of constant performance under time pressure, in search of areas that transcend the performance index.

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Anni Puolakka and Jenna Sutela, Attention Spa, 2015

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Anni Puolakka and Jenna Sutela, Attention Spa, 2015 (detail)

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Anni Puolakka and Jenna Sutela, Attention Spa, 2015 (detail)

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Momu & No Es, Highway, 2015

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Kate Cooper, Experiments in Absorption, 2015

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Alexandra Navratil, Revitalise, 2015

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Amy Suo Wu, TLTRNW (Too Long To Read and Write), 2015

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Anna Zett, Text-to-Speech, 2015

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Jenna Sutela, When You Moved, 2014

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Jenna Sutela, When You Moved, 2014

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Maki Ueda, Deconstructing Body Odour (and Reconstructing), 2015

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Milos Trakilovic, Nothing Really Matters, 2015

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