The internet is evolving from an archive machine into a performance machine. Storing, saving and archiving copies of copies of copies is becoming obsolete. Temporary, local and unique content is becoming the new status quo. Today’s teenagers are already accustomed to this shift in digital culture.
Ephemeral Data was a performance that stretched across the full ten days of the SPRING Performing Arts Festival (16 – 25 May 2019, Utrecht, NL) and visualised this shift in digital culture. Ephemeral Data used sand, the raw material from which fibre optic cables are made, to create a sand mandala of 12 by 9 meters representing Utrecht’s complete digital infrastructure. Each telecom cable and cell tower was visualised.
The sand mandala was created by a group of performers in their utmost concentration, inch by inch and grain by grain. The public could witness this slow and focused process on a daily basis from 14:00 – 22:00. The public also received a small sticker when entering Ephemeral Data to cover up their smartphone camera: any photo or video documentation of the artwork by visitors was prohibited.
On the 10th and final day of SPRING the performers wiped the sand mandala away in presence of the public. The only thing left was a heap of sand. Apart from two photo of the artwork, day 1 when nothing is created yet and day 10 when everything was erased, nothing is visually documented. The work will never be seen again.
2019, 12×9 meter
444 hours, 12 performers, 108 glass plates, 216 trestles, 250 kg sand and 6 chakpurs.
Thami Joe Fischer
Caesár van Daal
Sietske de Vries
Jette van Ravesteyn
Gert Jan van Rooij
SPRING Performing Arts Festival
Made possible by
Creative Industries Fund NL
Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds