MareNostrum, 2016


210 x 150 x 150 cm


All work and photographs © Max Siebenhaar

Max Siebenhaar

  • About the artist

    To learn more about the artist, please click here.

  • About the work

    Since the digital age, we have seen an immense increase in the consumption of energy resources through the steady accumulation of data.
    Again and again new storage media appear, which serve as data storage.
    Who doesn't remember outdated storage media such as the VHS cassette, the CD-ROM, the MiniDisc, etc.?
    It seems that digital data has taken on an "immaterial" form for us.
    But huge supercomputers, such as those of the NSA, Facebook, Google, etc., have long proven the opposite.
    Data can be hosted by different providers online. Once you have uploaded a file, you can retrieve it from any device connected to the Internet.
    The advantage of this is that the data remains available to me at all times.
    This readiness for retrieval requires a huge server capacity, which also consumes a lot of energy.
    If the Internet were a country, it would have the sixth largest electricity consumption in the world.

    The installation, MareNostrum, gets its title from the supercomputer of the same name at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, which was installed in a chapel. The installation gives this seemingly "immaterial data" new forms. Similar to the construction of the MareNostrum in Barcelona, the remnants of society found here form a cluster: society and technology.

    On a wooden pallet there is an arrangement that represents society.
    Three different concrete casts of bottles can be seen in the background, representing the various obsolete storage media. Pieces of marble in the background refer to the history of the storage media.
    In the space between the concrete bottles, there is a ladder that leads into the void. In the foreground, another concrete casting is depicted as a mass storage medium, such as in the chapel in Barcelona. In this context one can imagine that the body is also a kind of memory or data carrier and that we as human beings take on different forms.
    The construct of society also has various connection possibilities that can be freely interpreted.
    The suggestive design of the installation shows the connections between society and technology.

    Text in German provided by the artist.