In Stereo Reality Environment/ Open Data/ SP, José Carlos Martinat explored how the immaterial flows of information, resulting from economical-political processes, are entwined with the physicality of the built environment. Martinat developed a software that hacked a government website, extracting a live-stream of statistical graphics depicting the costs and revenues of the state of São Paulo. He then installed on the gallery’s rooftop a device which printed this information as receipts and expelled them to the exterior of the building where they could be read and taken by passers-by.
José Carlos Martinat’s Stereo Reality Environment/ Open Data/ SP was exhibited during a moment of social-political turmoil in Brazil triggered by the Operation Lava Jato (Car wash), an investigation which unveiled a widespread corruption network involving major construction companies and contractors, political parties and public officials. Responding to this context, Martinat’s project explored the correlation between the immateriality of politics and economics, and the physicality of the construction of urban space. In that moment in time, it was increasingly evident that the ability to reveal or omit information was a major political bargaining chip. An indispensable ability in order to implement policies that shape an urban environment which emboldens the hegemonic structures of power, and caters to the logics of reproduction of capital.
In SRE/ Open Data/ SP the artist installed, on top of the gallery’s walkway, a device consisting of a thermal-printer connected to an online software which downloaded graphics with statistical information on the costs and revenues of the State of São Paulo. The information was taken from an official government website, the São Paulo State Transparency Portal, which makes public information accessible to the citizens through ciphered graphs and tables. The device printed these data visualizations as receipts and expelled them onto the building’s courtyard where they gradually accumulated and eventually flew away towards adjacent public spaces. With these procedures the artist gave a tangible shape to the immaterial flows of data, and turned the building into a propagator of public information that could be read, grasped and taken by citizens.
SITU #1 Stereo Reality Environment / Open Data / SP
by José Carlos Martinat (1974, Peru)