INFORMATION FARM harvests crops of local information from data fields in the Post-Soviet (Postsovkhoz) village of Mooste, Estonia. The Farm is operated by four Post-Orwellian Pigs who, along with an undercover feline colleague, boarishly solicit ethnographic field data from the village inhabitants. The villagers are encouraged to participate in their surveillance by contributing trivia to an interactive online map of the Information Farm territory. The assembled stories, rumors, and images are studiously reenacted by the blundering Pigs whose superficial video interpretations serve at once to obscure the mapped territory and to provide the incentive for an online game in which "information sniffing" becomes a sport.
INFORMATION FARM is a project created by Katherine Behar, Ben Chang, Joseph Ravens, and Silvia Ruzanka for the PostsovkhoZ 6 Symposium on "The Human Zoo" at MoKS Center for Art and Social Practice. The project seeks to address the fraught role of the "Ethnographer-As-Boar" in an age of consensual data surveillance.
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INFORMATION FARM originated as a surveillance-age spinoff from George Orwell's Animal Farm, a story in which humane pigs devolve into boarish humans. Yet while developing the project in residence, other factors began playing in to our interpretation of "The Human Zoo." As the theme of the sixth annual PostsovkhoZ Symposium, "The Human Zoo" is concerned both with the subject of "display" through data and surveillance, and with the issue of "spectacle" in the context of the festival itself. In the latter aspect, the theme problematizes the inevitable impact of the yearly influx of contemporary artists and art audiences on an increasingly disinterested local population. With this in mind, in our role as Artist-Swine, we found it apropos to further "spectacularize" our endeavors in the directions of buffoonery, superficiality, romanticization, klutziness, inanity, consumability, and melodrama.