In spite of the automated apparatus available that might well be available to Shu Lea Cheang, her work is playful even in its creative corruption of the technological sophistication we have come to expect of this new century.
The first two editions of the Data Hack collection, Reading (2014) and Typing (2014) are like pared down video games from a bygone age, works that equally invite us to sit at an old fashioned console and thrust the joystick back and forth for a high score. The joy of these works comes in watching them cleverly generate and disintegrate and dissolve further and further into the error strewn language of a mechanised meltdown; and with Typing that sheer delight is accompanied by an electronic soundtrack. For Cheang the reactionary sophistication of what she is attempting lies in her wilful intention to subvert the invisible matrix of dots and dashes that make up the stratosphere of computer code that we have come to rely on as our modern currency.
The third edition of the Data Hack collection, Seeding (2015) is a political gesture towards the liberation of seeds in an industry increasingly reliant on patents on pest-resistant seeds, where the transcript from a patent infringement trial is dissolved into seeds and distributed virtually. Similarly decomposing text, Reading symbolically composts texts from online mailing lists that then sprout into new plants from the fallen letters. All three editions in the series are unique captures of Cheang’s net art pieces created exclusively for Sedition.