Trampoline, the East Midlands’ platform event for new media art, celebrates its tenth anniversary with an exhibition of mapped data by internationally renowned artist Heath Bunting, at Nottingham’s Broadway from 29 November until 5 December 2007.
In Broadway, for one week, visitors to the top floor are able to study unique drawings which can help them navigate the networks encountered in their everyday lives which routinely collect and distil such personal information. The Status Project is “…an expert system for identity mutation” says Heath Bunting about his project, which he estimates will take him another seven years to complete.
On display are maps and guidebooks of ‘the system’ that Bunting terms The Status Project. The Bristol based artist will later be using these self-produced guides to lead members of the public on a city walk, demonstrating the links that establish our social status, from owning a Tesco Club Card to being on the Electoral Register.
It’s an A to Z of the System that maps the conditions, restrictions and red tape borders that we encounter every day.
Heath started to explore public space as encountered in shops, organisations and institutions three years ago and to log the information he was obliged to supply in order to use the services of these establishments. This array of data has been entered into the Status Project database, which holds more than 5000 entries. These entries consist of descriptors such as name, birth date, postal address and nationality but include other personal information such as one’s mobile phone contract, bank account or the ability to provide a handwritten signature.
All entries strictly reflect the information found in the research. Entries are linked to each other according to their overlaps and dependencies thereby forming a node in a vast networked system. For example, it lays out which exact information is required to obtain a Barclay’s bank account and what further doors this account will open for you. For the five new maps in An A to Z of the System, a set of data from the Status database has been arranged according to a theme.
In the map named A Woman, areas of national identity, credit status and eligibility for state benefits are positioned close together and are interlaced with marital status, title and whether one has children or not.
One of the five maps is custom-made for Nottingham and can be experienced on the Psycho-geographic walk, where Heath will personally guide members of the public around the city centre. On the Nottingham Map the institutions, shops and public buildings are logged following the itinerary of the walk, demonstrating what conditions must be fulfilled in order to engage with the services of that place and what links them with other places on the way.