Mark Hansen and Jer Thorp
Pop-Up Installation commissioned by eBay Inc. for the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial
Before Us is the Salesman’s House (2012) is a large-scale projection on the entry façade of eBay Inc.’s north campus. The generative, live software system is, in the artist’s own words, “an investigation of eBay as a cultural artifact” that ties together texts, objects, and transactions pulled directly from visualizations of data from both the eBay and PayPal branches of the company to create stories that reveal societal trends. The open-ended work is framed around an exploration of geographic and temporal patterns within the eBay ecosystem, and anchored on excerpts of text from classic literature for sale on the site. The title references an excerpt from the first act of Arthur Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman.
This work will also be presented at the ZERO1 Urban Screen as a means of networking the eBay campus to the Biennial hub in downtown San Jose.
Mark Hansen and Jer Thorp have collaborated on data-focused projects in various media since 2010. Their projects are typically exploratory and open-ended, offering to the viewer both serendipity and continued opportunities for dialog. Collectively, their participatory and data-focused work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, at, The Whitney Museum of American Art, in the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, and in the London Science Museum.
Mark Hansen was a member of the Technical Staff in the Statistics and Data Mining Research Department of Bell Laboratories. In addition to his formal statistical work, Hansen also has an active art practice involving the presentation of large or complex data streams for the public.
Jer Thorp is an artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in New York. Coming from a background in genetics, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science and art. He is currently Data Artist in Residence at the New York Times, and is an adjunct Professor in New York University’s ITP program.