Humanpédia by David Guez is part of the exhibition “Print error / publishing in the digital age” proposed by Alessandro Ludovico, for the Jeu de Paume virtual space.
The work of David Guez can be defined as « time-based art » but in a singular way. What he’s usually modeling is a constructed (often virtual) space where time is stretched towards different dissonant future or possible directions, generating uneasy perceptions.
In Humanpédia he’s clearly inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, where as society is completely banned from the use of books, a small secret community conspires in order to let each member memorizing entire tomes, preserving and orally transmitting them. Guez is applying this strategy towards the virtual icon of contemporary human knowledge: Wikipedia. The project calls for people who are willful to take a public responsibility to memorize one Wikipedia article, forever, passing this information to the next generation. The list of (voluntary) people involved is available online and it’s open to new participants.
There’s a conceptual character in this preservation strategy: our organic brains, which can still process information better than the most advanced IT technologies, can also paradoxically be more reliable than them in remembering. This « human » component which stems from the retrieval of oral culture permeates the fragility of the digital, invisibly reinforcing it.
Since 1994, David Guez created art works driven by two main notions: « link » and « public ». These two approaches enabled him to create « objects » and « matrices» that question contemporary subjects and their application or their link with new technologies. He deals with topics as varied as free media, psychoanalysis, time, collective uses of the Internet, identity problems and loss of liberty. His work is presented in national and international contemporary artistic networks and has received broad press coverage.