Digital Art Installation on Campus Uses eBay Inc. Data to Reveal Shopping Trends
By: Cicely Wedgeworth
Through Oct. 12, big data will be on display at San Jose’s North Campus as a part of the ZERO1 Biennial exhibition, an art and technology event taking place in in Silicon Valley. The innovative artwork, titled Before Us is the Salesman’s House, is a large-scale digital art installation that uses eBay and PayPal data to examine shopping trends. It is one of multiple exhibitions, performances and public art projects scheduled during the exhibition.
Designed by Mark Hansen and Jer Thorp, Before Us Is the Salesman’s House was created through a partnership betweeneBay Foundation and the arts nonprofit ZERO1, whose mission is to merge art and technology to shape the future. The piece is named after an excerpt from Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” and uses data related to the exchange of books to create visualizations that illustrate how shopping ties into larger economic systems.
“eBay, Inc. is the first visionary company to join arts nonprofit ZERO1 in prototyping a new form of collaboration between tech companies and artists,” said Jaime Austin, Curator & Director of Programs at ZERO1.
According to artist Mark Hansen, the piece is an “investigation of eBay as a cultural artifact.”
“The piece ties together texts, objects, and transactions pulled directly from data to create stories that reveal societal trends,” said Hansen. “The project uses the sale and exchange of books as a narrative thread; a thread which exists within and alongside a dense layer of buying and selling of vast numbers of other items, new and used.”
Before Us is the Salesman’s House will be on display at San Jose’s North Campus until Oct. 12. This artwork will also be on display through December at ZERO1’s main site in downtown San Jose. The theme of this year’s biennial, Seeking Silicon Valley, proposes that contemporary art practice can re-imagine the idea, the place, and the experience of Silicon Valley.