The concept of identity has been one of the basic notions of philosophy since antiquity. Derived from the Neo-Latin for „unity“ or „unity of essence“, identity refers to the totality of peculiarities that characterise an entity, a subject or an object. While in analogue life the identity of a person can be proven with a fingerprint or identity card, in the virtual world identity is based on diverse, fragmentary sources. Going beyond the mere exploitation of data, the internet itself becomes a generator of identity. Who are we online? And how sovereignly can we shape our digital identity?
With PLAN D, Darja Shatalova thematically takes up the question of data disclosure and utilisation in the digital space. Based on the online exhibition history of periscope, Shatalova develops a site-specific installation that examines the structures and interactions in the construction of digital identities of individuals and organisations, visualising them three-dimensionally. Linking to former performances and installations, the meticulous, manual recording of a defined data set forms the starting point of the artistic research. Publicly accessible information on periscope‘s exhibition programme since the launch of their online presence in 2014, such as the exhibition title, the name of the participating artists, the project period and the type of exhibition, is incorporated into graphics, lists and tables. Initially captured in artists‘ books, the ordered and structured data is manually coded and transformed through a series of probing steps and rules that mimic the input and output of a computer. However, unlike artists such as Hanne Darboven or Vera Molnar, the mathematical rules do not dictate the final form of the work. The deliberately associative use of colour and the subjectively chosen symbolic elements subvert the functionality of classical notation and alienate the scientific functionality of data handling.
In a creative process of generation, duplication, transfer, reduction and abstraction, strict systems of signs are transformed into structures and patterns on the drawing surface. Graphic overlays of the codings form complex collages, which are then transferred with colour foils and permanent markers onto twin-wall panels in the digitally common aspect ratio of 9:16. Each layer shows one year of periscope‘s exhibition programme. Inserted into a construction of aluminium profiles, a spiral-shaped interlaced cuboid is formed, depicting the exhibition space on a scale of 1:2. In terms of a timeline, the work develops chronologically outwards, beginning in the middle of the accessible installation with the year 2014. Similar to Shatalova‘s artist‘s books, the visual overlays of the various panels form a cartographic density, that at the same time dissolves the certainty of a linear understanding of time, an order in the past, present and future, creating alternative correlations.