My Little Big Data

Eva Mattes + Franco Mattes

My Little Big Data is a video essay, which as a large-sized projection, forms center of the eponymous exhibition by New York based artists Eva Mattes and Franco Mattes (installation views from its presentation at Careof in Milan, Italy).

The 24 minutes long video essay My Little Big Data has been realised in collaboration with data analyst Vladan Joler, to whom the artists have voluntarily delivered all emails exchanged in the last 13 years (over 70,000 personal emails sent and received) and several months of browsing history.<br /> The video collects and analyzes the enormous wealth of information that often reveals intimate details of the private lives of the two artists, such as political or culinary preferences, work processes, places visited, or places where they lived, in order to create a portrait of them by extracting and examining those personal data and metadata.

„This is the point of view from the Panopticon tower, where a centralized hub of information maintains records of our every move. Like the famous portal in Spike Jonze’s movie led to John Malkovich’s head, this video is a portal into our minds.“

- Eva Mattes + Franco Mattes

Likewise, the work reflects how all of our data is constantly reviewed, extracted, organized and sold by social media, government agencies, banks and smartphone applications, with the aim of influencing our behavior, generating profit and political consensus.

In addition to the video, Personal Photographs October 2016 (2019), a large installation consisting of a network of cable trays that unfolds throughout the exhibition space. These usually invisible industrial infrastructures are visibly present here. Suspended from the ceiling, they descend to up to waist height, limiting the movements of visitors. Interacting with existing structures, they reflect the assimilation of the Internet into everyday life.

The installation becomes a reflection on the insoluble link between public and private life, on the concept of privacy, on the invisible traces that we unknowingly disseminate on the net every time we connect. Inside the cables circulate, in constant flow, dozens of private photos taken by the artists, hidden from the human eye. Invisible images, yet always present, thus contribute to the formulation of what Byung-Chul Han defines as “the society of digital surveillance, which has access to the collective unconscious”.

Eva and Franco Mattes (originally from Brescia, Italy) form a duo, also known as, as which they have been collaborating since 1995. Their works are the result of a strong ability to understand and use new media. For more than 20 years they have constantly produced works that respond to and examine our hyper-connected condition of life, exposing – often with notions of black humor -, its deepest ethical and political implications.

Their work has been exhibited at SFMoMA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; 20th Biennale of Sydney; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Performa, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; New Museum, New York; Manifesta, Frankfurt and the Venice Biennale.