neil cummings

Self Portrait: Timeline

Over the course of 2011, which is the Arnolfini's 50th anniversary year I will be working to develop a series of self-portraits of the institution using information from their archive.

Presented throughout the building, these data portraits will expand throughout the year, tracing their histories and speculating on possible futures.

ArnolfiniIn the first of these self portraits we are looking back from their centenary in 2061. Recalled from composite memory, data-sprites dart, spurt and flow through the public spaces of the building. Three relational threads are intertwined;

1. social and financial organisation traced in olive green

2. technological innovation in purple

3. art and its institutions in pale blue

Before the launch there was an intense week of installation with the fantastic technical team at the Arnolfini. Thanks!

From the Bristol Riots of 1831, the sprites trace loops of financial market expansion and collapse, the struggle for real-time direct democracy, Transaction tax implementation, rights for Organic Synthetic assemblies, corporate museum expansion and implosion, the evolution of the Arnolfini, the foundation of the multitude social enterprise coalition, the growth of the iCommons, and much else besides.


Other self portraits will follow using data mined from the archive.

Relational maps will trace the distributed presence of the Arnolfini through space, a social network will record past and present directors, artists, event programmers, funders, administrators, and curators.

Self-portraits will sprawl through the building, as the Arnolfini remembers itself.

You can see more images of the installation and development.

The project will launch on Friday 18th February 2011 and develop throughout the following year, if you are in Bristol would be lovely to see you.

You can read about the futures workshop, see some data maps or view the complete data-sprite timeline as @SP_Arnolfini

The was developed with designer Stephen Coates, archivist Julian Warren and curated by Nav Haq


 Related projects include Museum Futures, Industrialtownfuturism and V&A Bicentenary.


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