Presented by Singapore Art Museum at National Gallery Singapore
Everything (Wikipedia) by Heman Chong
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays over the course of the exhibition period, 22 Apr - 11 July 2021 from 2.00pm - 6pm
Durational performance involving a performer, Wikipedia, a mobile phone, 2019
In Everything (Wikipedia), artist Heman Chong proposes a futile attempt to vocalise a representation of the entirety of human knowledge through a performance of Wikipedia entries. Recited by a single individual, the performance begins with the Wikipedia page of the day and follows the website’s links as a means to navigate the encyclopaedic resource.
Using an electronic mobile device to access the servers of Wikipedia in real-time, the performer advances across a multitude of hyperlink entries, deciding on the choice of links to follow. This action is repeated until the pre-defined hours of the performance have ended. The performance of text is experienced spatially (while in the vicinity of the performer) and durationally (the amount of time spent experiencing the artwork, with content received based on the juncture that one encounters the performer), resulting in new capacities for the reception of information.
In making the visitor’s experience of Wikipedia contingent on the performer’s chance encounter with the information presented on the online encyclopedia, the artist acknowledges the exploratory and propositional nature of such digital infrastructures. Moving between hyperlinks and descending into rabbit holes (in the manner of Lewis Carroll’s Alice), information consumption quickly turns into excess. Recalling the conditions of an information age, Everything (Wikipedia) reckons with information presented and consumed in seeming infinitude. How does the boundlessness of virtual interfaces measure against the human limits of knowledge inquiry?