May 18th – June 18th 2017 @ arebyte Gallery Hackney Wick
Liliana Farber - Blue Vessel
Blue Vessel, by Liliana Farber, is a mobile web app that creates a delineated experience of browsing knowledge and writing stories of conquest and survival. Hosted on a server located on a flag-less ship, drifting on international waters, the app invites users to write anonymous web messages by selecting words solely from the book “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe.
The written message then becomes a URL, to be found by chance by an unsuspecting viewer, or never found at all. Like a contemporary ‘message in a bottle’, the words are sent with hope of being discovered; it is within this periphery that the act of submitting information becomes futile, and where questions of being seen or never seen at all lie in a state of limbo.
The user can also learn survival skills from website links in a browser that decomposes with each scroll movement. Although the links are still active and accessible, the letters on the screen float and bump into each other, and ultimately become unreadable.
Whether our most deep confessions are influenced by machine learning algorithms’ word suggestions, or adventures are postponed for endless labyrinthine research, the virtual world is reshaping our relation to the real one. Sentiments of disconnections, even frustration among the users, are coins used by the artist to highlight the information systems, and the power of their interfaces.
In this work, Farber takes the user on a voyage across the unseen spaces of digital communications. Through the redesign of the familiar features of a mobile app, Blue Vessel uses smartphone technologies as active agents in URL and IRL interactions, and explores new ways of colonialism in the Internet era.
Liliana Farber’s works question the hierarchy of knowledge and the consumption of data. They explore the complex relationships between pieces of information and their relation to personal and collective memory, by scrutinizing the ways in which visual information is stored. Farber is creating software that manipulate masses of collected materials from the Internet, capturing the tension between the recognizable image and abstraction that derives from the abundance of information, carefully eliminating the element of specification.