Deep Love Algorithm exhibited and Database Talk in Osnabrueck

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View 2016 EMAF Osnabrück

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View at European Media Art Festival 2016, Osnabrück

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View 2016 EMAF Osnabrück

»black tower« with digital print showing two workers, one operating a punch card machine, the other working on the IBM calculation machine

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View 2016 EMAF Osnabrück

Main projection screen with narration. Videoanimation, HD, 32 min

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View 2016 EMAF Osnabrück

office workers on punchcard machines – digital print

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View 2016 EMAF Osnabrück

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition View at European Media Art Festival 2016, Osnabrück

Big Data as permanent future

panel discussion with Marcus Burkhardt (Uni Paderborn) and Francis Hunger (Leipzig), moderator: Lena Brüggemann (d21 Kunstraum, Leipzig)

Under the banner of big data, states and enterprises are collecting data with the intention of using it some time in the future. Seen from the perspective of databases, humans are transformed into data bodies and data potentials that are to be saved and algorithmically processed. While states, for example, allow their police to experiment with systems to predict criminal activities and their political parties to mobilise the electorate for their election campaign using big data, enterprises such as Amazon, Allianz Insurance and Deutsche Bank use their customers’ data for strategic business development purposes.

Panel discussion Francis Hunger, Lena Brüggemann, Marcus Burkhardt
→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2016-Jun-09

Tabellen im Spiegel der drucktechnischen Innovationen des 20. Jahrhunderts.

This text describes the interdependence of table making and printing process innovations during the 19th century. It is largely based on Doron Swades article »The ‘unerring vertainty of mechanical agency’: machines and table making in the nineteenth century.« from Campbell-Kelly »The history of mathematical tables: from Sumer to spreadsheets.« (2003). I had to shorten this part from my larger essay about Tables, and for the sake of saving it somewhere, it is published here.


Tabellen im Spiegel der drucktechnischen Innovationen des 20. Jahrhunderts.

Die Berechnung der Tabellen war mit einem komplexen Druck- und Publikationsprozess verwoben. Bis zum Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts[1] wurden Publikationen per Hand gesetzt, das heißt, der Setzer las die Zahlenfolge im Manuskript ab, entnahm die einzelnen Lettern einem Satzkasten und arrangierte diese auf dem Satzschiff in Spalten, Gruppen und Blöcken welche die Seite formierten. Beim Herausnehmen wurden die einzelnen Lettern nicht auf ihre Richtigkeit überprüft, vielmehr griff der Setzer gewohnheitsmäßig – man könnte auch sagen »blind« – in die Kästen.[2] Es war daher eine neue Drucktechnik, die wesentliche Unterschiede für den Buchdruck allgemein und für Tabellenproduzenten insbesondere machte: die Stereotypie, die Verwendung von Druckplatten aus Metall. Dabei wurde vom Setzschiff, in dem die Lettern vorübergehend fixiert waren, ein Abdruck genommen, der in eine Metallplatte gegossen wurde. Diese konnte aufbewahrt und wiederverwendet werden.

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→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2016-Apr-26

Computing In-Formation: Data and its Base

Workshop with Francis Hunger, artist (Leipzig)
18th + 19th January, 10am-4pm
Research Center for Proxy Politics (Hito Steyerl, Vera Tollmann, Boaz Levin, Maximillian Schmoetzer, Anil Jain)
UDK Berlin, Raum 115

This workshop aims to establish a notion of computing history that is oriented towards database software. During the first day we look into diverse practices of database usage, its historical and social origins.
Knowledge production by way of the library, the collection, the processing of mathematical equations in the age of human computing and bio-political practices such as statistics, data collection, resource management and insurance business have informed database technologies.
Lately, notions like big data or large scale search engines were added to this set of practices. During the second day the discussion focuses on tables and relations that form and put in form the base of data. And we go for a database dérive, which means we go outside to observe databases in their natural habitat to sense the infrastructural dimension of database usage today.

Day 1:

  • Lecture »Computing In-formation: Data and its Base«,
  • Introductioduction to SQL and relational databases
  • Close Reading – Mark Poster: Databases as Discourse or Electronic Interpellations. In: The Second Media Age. Polity Press 1995

Day 2:

  • Continuation of Close Reading – Mark Poster
  • Database Derivé
Close Reading Mark Poster

Close Reading session of Mark Posters text about Databases as electronic interpellations. We read the text paragraph by paragraph and subsequently discuss each section until it is understood.

Database Derivé

On our way to Berlin stock exchange Building. As we learned, the stock exchange has moved out, because it is computer based now. A few people went into the hotel to find out, what data needs to be stored in their booking system, in order to get a room.

Database Derivé

Theater des Westens has an old-fashioned ticketing system on paper cards for the subscription. But you can buy tickets online via a third-party service.

Database Derivé – ID

Database Derivé: ID Number at a door – electric switch room for U2 subway line

Notes: This time the database derivé took place in February which turned out to be cold. So we went mostly into buildings and asked the businesses about their database practices. One could do so individually each day, but here it seems that the groups’ supportive existence encouraged inquiring.
Some of the participants were dissatisfied because »it seems with every workshop comes a we-go-into-the-city-and-experience-it-differently session«. That made me think about it and understand that a derivé may be me more exciting for a diverse crowd as it was drawn by the Galerie Wedding database derivé last year, but may be less interesting for art students. However, what worked well in both occasions, that the sheer fact of moving around, instead of sitting in a room, fosters communication amongst the participants – it is informal but still the conversation connects to the overall topic. Also the sceptics agree.
The close reading (paragraph by paragraph) of Mark Posters essay was very appreciated by the participants, both because the text itself is inspiring and because the reading and discussing paragraph by paragraph enabled an intense debate within the group. This session also benefited from the comments of the RCPP-members who provide additional input on a high academical level.
→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2016-Jan-15

Universal Concept

The database became an universal concept for software such as the Von-Neumann-Principle for computing hardware.

→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2016-Jan-02

Search Routines – Publication

The publication »Search Routines: Tales of Databases« enlarges on the topics discussed in the exhibition, the workshop and during the symposium which took place at D21 Kunstraum and sublab hackerspace Leipzig in 2014. A series of interviews with Francis Hunger, Kernel, Pil and Galia Kollectiv and Sebastian Schmieg review artistic strategies like narration or the translation of data and algorithms to adress the invisibility of databases. Reports from the workshops with Heath Bunting and WaiWai tell about the potential of making the invisible visible or simply of hiding oneself from the databases’ range of view. The symposium discusses databases from a sociological and cultural science perspective.

Download: Lena Brüggemann / Francis Hunger (eds.): Search Routines: Tales of Databases. D21 Kunstraum Leipzig, 2015

Search Routines – Bookcover


Search Routines Publication


Search Routines Publication


Search Routines Publication


Search Routines Publication


Design: Paul Spehr
Copy Edit: William Clapp, Juliane Richter
Printed by: Bod, Norderstedt 2015
Authors: Lena Brüggemann, Marcus Burkhardt, Cesca Golodnaya, Francis Hunger, Daniel Pauselius
Artists: Francis Hunger, Kernel, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Sebastian Schmieg, Jonas Lund und Johannes P Osterhoff

Funded by Kulturstiftung des Freitstaates Sachsen. Realized in cooperation with the Hybrid Publishing Lab, Innovation Incubator, Leuphana University Lüneburg.

→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2015-Nov-10

Deep Love Algorithm Exhibition and Database Derive in Berlin

Deep Love Algorithm is shown at Unsichtbare Manöver, curated by Sabine Winkler at Galerie Wedding/Berlin. July 21 – August 29 2015,

The exhibition included the workshop Database-Derive, an exploration into the concept of »Infrastructural Inversion« (Bowker/Star) and »Infrastructural Tourism« (Mattern). For the workshop the non-profit city-run exhibition space Galerie Wedding issued an invitation to participate. About ten people with diverse backgrounds, mostly art-affinicados, artists or students of related fields attended. After a 45 min introduction into the topical field, the idea was to walk around the Berlin streets and try to identify the visible ends of database systems. I had a few paper forms on pads prepared where participants could take notes. One was simply space for a hand drawn map, another recorded the general mood or spirit of the particular participant and another form allowed to record a list of our observations. Initially I had also prepared a coin, so we could throw coins, when deciding which direction we should take – inspired by the chance operations of John Cage. It turned out however, that in this particular street, the occurences of database signs were so dense, that after one-and-a-half hours we were still on that same street and decided to finish the walk in a cafe. The walk turned out to be inspiring since it produced new knowledge to which all participants contributed. It also fostered discussion amongst the participants. Some of them enjoyed the opportunity to discuss and interact, to experience the city differently and to acquire or share knowledge, but it also was questioned if what we were doing, could be called art.

Bus Stop with Schedule – Database Derive

Bus Stop with schedule. Basically we assumed from common knowledge, that all the scheduling data is stored in the municipal transport services’ database.

Tree with ID Number – Database Derive

Tree with ID number. The ID indicates that this tree is recorded on file of the Berlin land-registry office. We assume that it is used to store information about the trees health status and calculate the environmental balance on that particular street.

Gas pipe sign with ID Number – Database Derive

Gas pipe sign signals, where the gas pipe is to be found on the ground. The ID (11-digit number on top) implies that this location is stored in a file at GASAG, the local supplier.

Computer Store

Computer Store – We asked the owner, which Enterprice Resource Planning System (ERP) he was using…

Post Box – Database Derive

A participant explained, that inside each post box is a bar code to be scanned when the post box is emptied. The status of the emptied post box is then updated in a database and recorded for tracking reasons.

Database Derive Participants

Database Derive Participants (with pads, taking notes)

Photos by Elena Ilina and Kathrin Pohlmann

→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2015-Jul-02

Database Infrastructure – Factual repercussions of a ghost.

»The US-societies’ low income fringe, which grew significantly during the crisis years, includes people who rely on state-run food support. These benefits still bear the name ›food stamps‹, a term that refers to the post-World War II period although a private company actually runs a digital system called ›Electronic Benefits Transfer‹, in short EBT, that deals with the financial transactions. […] Last Saturday, around 9 a.m. [Oct. 12, 2013] in some northern federal states the electronic EBT-cards began to malfunction. The food chains‹ shopping peak time had not yet begun. One and a half hour later the EBT-payment system failed at the West coast and shortly after in the East as well down to Florida, at a time when many clients began their shopping. […] Within a few days the situation escalated. The computer problems appeared to be of serious nature and the EBT-system stayed offline. Occasionally reports of organized supermarket plundering appeared on the Internet – it got dicey in gunmens’ country« (Kurz 2013:37, transl. F.H.). This is how journalist Constanze Kurz describes in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung an infrastructural breakdown, providing an impressing example for infrastructures getting visible only during break-down.

Aim of the following text is to develop a notion, how the visibility of database systems – understood as basic infrastructure in Post-Fordist societies – can be raised. Infrastructure studies, a relatively new theoretical field, provides the theoretical framework, which is enriched with methods from media studies, media history and media art. First I’ll discuss infrastructure in general, and in how far database systems can be addressed as infrastructure. Further we look into the various dimensions of database infrastructure, such as time, space, membership, organizational structures and practices. This shall lead to an practical approach for making database systems more visible, through paying attention to recurring aspects of user interfaces that can help to identify underlying database infrastructures. My intention with this text is to develop a theoretical base for further practical, artistic explorations.

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→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2015-May-21

Search Routines – Exhibition Leipzig

Search Routines Exhibition at D21 Kunstraum Leipzig


Search Routines: Narrations of Databases – Kunstraum D21, Leipzig

curated by Lena Brüggemann & Hannah Sieben
Oct 4 – Nov 2, 2014

The exhibition sets its focus behind the user interfaces and aims to establish a consciousness for the societal, political and cultural dimensions of databases. Instead of trying to visualize data, the exhibited works examine the underlying history of ideas, showing not so much the content, but the logics and form of data administration and the culture behind.
Participating Artists: Kernel, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Sebastian Schmieg, Jonas Lund und Johannes P Osterhoff, Francis Hunger

Francis Hunger: Deep Love Algorithm (2013), produced by The Bergen Assembly, Installation (video, wood, digital prints)
Idea and Realisation: Francis Hunger, Photography: Sebastian Hühmer, Sound: Cornelia Friederike Müller, Translation: Tom Morrison, Actress: Franziska Leiste, Actor: Torsten Hampel.

Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition view Deep Love Algorithm – Exhibition view


→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2014-Oct-02

Search Routines Workshops with Heath Bunting & WaiWai

Update (2015 Jan): Documentation of the workshops can be downloaded here:

Open Call

Along the exhibition and symposium Search Routines at Kunstraum D21, Leipzig/Germany come two workshops with irationalists WaiWai and Heath Bunting. Both workshops are about hacking – not so much in a technological sense, but as a social matter.

Bunting: Status Project
Within this workshop we’ll construct an identity or an anonymous corporation using and further developing Heath Buntings Status database and other material. The workshop is open– with the participants’ input – to also practically talk about how to build and use databases and/or how to visualize data from databases. This is in no way a technical workshop, although it may involve some kinds of technology. It is about ideas, sharing of knowledge and questioning the invisible of the database. »42 years old from birht / 63 kilos in weight / a Bank of England creditor / able to accept terms and conditions / able to access the internet / able to bath myself« (Excerpt from Artist’s self portrait by Heath Bunting) – 10 participants

WaiWai: Outside the Default
This workshop will move the opposite way and will do further research into questions of disappearing from the radar of databases. Given that more and more details of us individuals get collected in several databases (surveillance, corporate) it would be interesting to learn and try how to escape them. This might lead finally into the woods, but maybe an escape is also possible within the city or even while being online. The main focus of the workshop would be understanding how dependency was developed by a fabricated system to its users, and how we can free ourselves from the database through extracting resources outside of the default routing. e.g. sourcing fire, water, food, network outside of the system. – 10 participants

Call for participation: We are looking for up to ten participants per workshop in Leipzig on October 23–25 in Leipzig.
There is no workshop fee. We try to provide a travel grant of 50,00 Euro for up to seven participants, depending on distance to Leipzig. On request we can try to place free private accommodation. Please indicate, if you need that. Workshop language is English.

Application Deadline: September 27 or earlier. First come, first serve. To apply, please send three to five sentences to why you would like to be involved. We’ll inform you latest September 30.

Curated by Francis Hunger

Funded by Kulturamt der Stadt Leipzig, der Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen and Stiftung Kulturwerk der VG Bild-Kunst.

A cooperation of Kunstraum D21 (Lena Brüggemann & Hannah Sieben) und SubLab e.V., Leipzig und

→ author: Francis Hunger, published on: 2014-Aug-12