or an artwork which is essentially a visual representation of data, EXIT manages to provoke a sense of urgency and trauma in the audience. Was capturing this ‘emotion’ something that was important to you when developing the work? How did you go about achieving this?
EXIT is conceived as six short stories about human migration. One of the experiments was to make palpable and emotive the effect and drama of the uprooting of people from their homes –without using conventional narrative media that elicit empathy, such as photography or video. As the issues are somewhat unrepresentable, abstraction was a more effective tool. The data was collected from over 100 sources, geo-coded, processed through a programming language and translated visually. Sound effects were and important part of the equation.
One of the most poignant moments for me was learning that the countries who contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions are the most affected by climate change. Was there a particular piece of data you came across during your work that touched and / or affected you the most?
Deforestation and loss of biodiversity correlate with the loss of languages. Currently, 7000 languages are spoken worldwide. One in four are threatened with extinction due to the destruction of our environment.
“It’s important to acknowledge the threats faced by people who are otherwise attached to their land but forced to move or the perils faced by those who want to move and find their paths largely predetermined or simply blocked.”
rt has the power to awaken people to concepts they might otherwise gloss over in a newspaper. To me, EXIT has the potential to take that to the next level, and effect real change. Do you feel that EXIT has achieved this? How was it received by delegates at the Paris Climate Change Conference?
EXIT integrates geographical, economic, environmental, and political data that are normally seen in isolation and exposes relations that are otherwise not visible. Many national and local policy makers commented that converging this diverse information produced new information and exposed broader ecologies.
If there was one message you would like people to take away from EXIT, what would it be?
Mobility for most of us is a metaphor for freedom, but for many of the world’s populations it is a tragic necessity. It’s important to acknowledge the threats faced by people who are otherwise attached to their land but forced to move or the perils faced by those who want to move and find their paths largely predetermined or simply blocked.
EXIT (2008-2015). View of the installation, EXIT. Collection: Fondation Cartier pou l’art contemporain, Paris. Diller Socfidio+ Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Mark Hansen, and Ben Rubin, in collaboration with Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Stewart Smith. Photo by Silversalt.