Making Art of Databases

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Editors: Joke Brouwer, Arjen Mulder
Issued: 2003

With: Sher Doruff, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Brian Massumi, Lev Manovich, Anne Nigten, Joel Ryan.

Today we have a wide range of precise systems that have been developed to describe and categorize spoken and written communication – phonologically, morphologically, syntactically, semantically, pragmatically, stylistically. But nothing similar exists for visual and audio communications, in spite of the fact that the importance of these media has increased dramatically. To realize such a system, the archive of documents must be transformed into a digital sound and image database.

Making Art of Databases is a series of essays about attempts to develop systems for the deployment of databases in interactive, dynamic artworks in which the database plays an active role. Lev Manovich, Sher Doruff, Joel Ryan and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, together with Brian Massumi, share their ideas on the use of databases and archives and present the results of master classes they gave in various European cities in their particular areas of expertise. 

“Urban city intervention is not the best fit to reflect the reality of the city, for the simple reason that it is better suited to revise it.”



  • Anne Nigten: How Do We Make Art of Databases?
  • Lev Manovich: 'Metadating' the Image
  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Brian Massumi: Urban Appointment: A Possible Rendezvous with the City
  • Joel Ryan: MuViz - Visualization Notes
  • Sher Doruff: Collaborative Culture and Emergent C's